Ocean Infinity broadens remote fleet plans with order of 85m robotic vessels from VARD

Ocean Infinity has contracted VARD for the design and construction of a new series of six multi-purpose offshore vessels, all of which will be operated from shore and will eventually utilise green ammonia as fuel.

24. February 2022

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The largest remote fleet in the world

This landmark order of six, 85-metre, optionally crewed robotic vessels will take Ocean Infinity’s remote vessel fleet to 23 vessels – the largest in the world.

With Ocean Infinity’s control infrastructure and remote control centre currently undergoing commissioning, transformational low-emission remote operations are becoming a closer reality for the global maritime industry.

This new contract between Ocean Infinity and VARD facilitates the next phase of joint development between the two companies, including VARD’s subsidiaries, Vard Design, Vard Electro and Seaonics. VARD’s vessel systems management and automation techniques coupled with Ocean Infinity’s systems integration capability and remote operations infrastructure will enable remote ship operation on a uniquely global scale.

Continue to drive the minimalized environmental impact

Richard Daltry, Technical Director – Surface Technology at Ocean Infinity said “Armada will play a huge role in enabling the global maritime community to reduce its carbon emissions from operations at sea. These new 85m vessels will be optimized for inspection, maintenance and repair and light construction work to offer remote, ultra-low carbon services to the offshore energy market. Like the 78m series currently under construction, the new design continues to drive minimalized environmental impact with its integration of new fuel-cell and battery technology.”

Dan Hook, Chief Technology Officer at Ocean Infinity said “The team have made significant progress in recent months; commissioning our shore-side remote control infrastructure, running ROVs remotely and developing our fleet management capability. The way in which we will optimize the control and operation of these remote vessels is key. We’re wholeheartedly committed to our goal of transforming operations at sea, to enable people and the planet to thrive, and we’re proud to demonstrate that with the announcement of this next phase of Armada”.

Demonstrates the strength of our fully integrated value chain

Fredrik Mordal Hessen, General Manager of VARD’s Offshore and Specialized Vessels business area, is impressed with Ocean Infinity’s willingness and ability to take the lead in contributing to a sustainable and future-oriented maritime industry.

“This contract addresses the core of VARD’s mission and strategy to enable sustainable maritime operations together with our customers, and further strengthens our partnership with Ocean Infinity. Advanced equipment integration and remote operation is becoming a reality for the maritime industry. Vard Design, Vard Electro, Seaonics and our shipyards have joined forces to enable the required integration, demonstrating the strength of our fully integrated value chain. We are excited to be working with Ocean Infinity on developing and building pioneering vessels backed by a strong business case. It’s a winning team,” he said.

Christian Utvik, VP Sales & Marketing at VARD, said: “It’s a very exciting project that addresses the carbon crisis head-on, leaps in technology with regards to remote control and monitoring, and the integration of tailor-made mission equipment. We have been working together with Ocean Infinity for several years, utilizing all aspects of our expertise and specialist knowledge from our inhouse disciplines and specialized subsidiaries”.

Expands the Ocean Infinity’s current Armada fleet

The new vessels of VARD 9 80 design will augment Ocean Infinity’s current Armada fleet of nine 21-metre and 36-metre vessels, plus eight 78-metre vessels which are already in production.

VARD won the contract to design and build the eight highly advanced, 78-meter vessels in November 2020. The first four are underway while steel cutting for the fifth began recently at Vard Vung Tau in Vietnam.

The new series of six vessels are scheduled for delivery from Vard Vung Tau in 2025. The first vessels will have the full suite of new technology and equipment installed and integrated at one of VARD’s shipyards in Norway utilizing VARD’s global integrated value chain.

Comprehensive scope by Vard Electro

The project scope, both for the current and newly contracted vessels, is unique in that it embraces the full range of SeaQ solutions and equipment required for remote operations featuring an advanced software and extended hardware platform that unifies control of all onboard equipment to efficiently manage remote operations. Systems will be interfaced to the Ocean Infinity onshore control center, with remote operations as the ultimate goal.

Topside innovation by Seaonics

Seaonics will supply the Launch and Recovery System (LARS) to manoeuvre ROVs and geotechnical units through the vessels’ moonpools. The Seaonics platform’s core characteristics are modularity and the use of components that allows for flexibility in various operations. The project represents a step change in lift and handling technology embracing electrification, remote operations, security, user experience, and simulation technology for testing. The control system will be in constant interaction with Ocean Infinity’s dynamic payload control platform and Vard Electro’s integrated SeaQ solutions.

Vard Design

The Multi-Purpose Offshore Vessels (MPOVs) will have a length of 85 meters and a beam of 16.4 meters. The series of 8 vessels currently under construction is of VARD 9 60 design, while the series of 85-meters vessels is of VARD 9 80 design.