The offshore structures must be protected in all times, nevertheless guard boats’ crews fatigue during the watch. Considering that watch-guard issue an Autonomous Guard Vessel (AGV) model was recently developed in partnership between four Dutch companies: C-Job Naval Architects, Seazip Offshore Service, the Maritime Research Institute Netherlands, and eL-Tec Elektrotechnologie, as well as the US-based Sea Machines. The project partnership is managed by LISA Group, which links professionals in maritime industry.
The autonomous vessel is electrically powered with periodical return to onsite charging station for batteries recharge. It is much smaller and lighter than current guard boats because it would not need any crew quarters. In addition, it has a solar panel array on its deck. Optical cameras, radar and maritime automatic identification system (AIS) – the latter is an automatic tracking system that integrates transponders that relay data such as speed and heading from ships – can be used to detect and locate possible intruding craft. If one of those vessels get too close, the AGV will issue verbal warnings over the radio, approach the intruder alongside and escort it out of the area. If intruder refuses to comply AGV video device will record the incident for later prosecution. AGV can alert personnel at shore or mother ship-based command center to take over and remotely control it in real time.
For constant patrolling several AGVs have to be allocated to each location, thus enhancing the overall process of securing an offshore region while integrating sustainable solutions and lowering the overall costs.