Norwegian krill producer Aker BioMarine has ordered a new sounder unmanned surface vehicle (USV) from Kongsberg Maritime, aiming to minimise the carbon footprint of their krill fishery in Antarctic waters.
Aker BioMarine has already invested heavily in technology to collect detailed data on the krill biomass, commencing operating an unmanned solar-powered ocean data drone (Sailbuoy) early in 2020. Now a major investment is going into this specially designed USV from Kongsberg Maritime.
Unmanned maritime systems are evolving rapidly, and Kongsberg Maritime has a track record of products for the hydrographic and subsea positioning industries and is a leader in multibeam sonars, positioning and fishery systems to the offshore market.
The new agreement with Aker BioMarine will give the biotech and krill harvesting company an even greater scientific edge for their operations in Antarctica, plus it is also equipped to collect valuable scientific data.
‘With this USV we will further reduce our fuel consumption when searching for krill. Data from the USV will help our vessels operate more efficiently, and help minimise our CO2 footprint. We chose Kongsberg Maritime because of their experience and technical expertise, and this USV represents a versatile and reliable platform to help us reach net-zero carbon emissions by 2050,’ said Frank Grebstad, Aker BioMarine’s SVP Vessel Operations.
As part of the agreement between Kongsberg Maritime and Aker BioMarine, the companies will co-operate to further develop the USV, together with scientific advice from REV Ocean, a not-for-profit company with a mission to make the ocean healthy again.
REV Ocean will provide scientific and technical advice to the project and look for novel ways to better utilise the data from the USV in large international science programmes and projects.
‘This new agreement with Aker BioMarine is very exciting. The ability to collect precise data effectively from the ocean is important to make fisheries more sustainable. Further developing and advancing this technology will be invaluable in making the job of scientists easier,’ said Nina Jensen, CEO of REV Ocean.
The USV has an eight-metre hull, developed in co-operation with Viking Norsafe AS, and it can be remotely controlled from a shore station or mothership through Kongsberg Maritime Broadband Radio (MBR), or from further afield via satellite communications. Additionally, situation awareness sensors, such as radar and various camera systems, facilitate advanced mission autonomy.
Systems from Kongsberg Maritime’s range of sensors for hydroacoustic mapping, positioning, communication, fish finding, and oceanographic research are integrated into the USV.
‘We’re proud to announce this contract and believe that our co-operation with Aker BioMarine has the potential to help the company substantially in their hunt to further reduce their carbon footprint,’ commented Atle Gran, Kongsberg Maritime’s Area Sales Manager, Marine Robotics.
‘Kongsberg is committed to sustainability and firmly believes that autonomous solutions such as our USVs and AUVs are key to greener maritime operations, and in helping us to learn more about the marine environment and how to interact with it in the least invasive way possible.’