Fugro has expanded its 12-metre Blue Essence® uncrewed surface vessel (USV) fleet with the addition of Fugro Vaquita.
The latest Blue Essence® has earned Category 0 approval from the UK Maritime Coastguard Agency (MCA), the highest level of approval for autonomous vessels. It is now the largest USV to operate fully remotely, with unrestricted access, to support marine projects further offshore while enhancing safety and environmental performance.
The expansion of the Blue Essence® fleet demonstrates Fugro’s commitment to leveraging technology for a safe and liveable world. Both USV and electrical remotely operated vehicle (eROV) will be remotely controlled from Fugro’s global network of remote operations centres (ROCs).
This remote operation capability not only removes personnel from potentially high-risk offshore environments but also significantly reduces the carbon footprint of operations, with the USV's emissions up to 95% lower than conventional support vessels. Operators can also monitor and control the vessels from anywhere in the world, enabling faster decision-making and access to near real-time data. This information is crucial for optimising project schedules, ensuring safety, and maximising asset performance.
Nick Simmons, Fugro’s Director of USV and Remote Working in Europe and Africa said: “This is a ground-breaking milestone for the maritime sector as we strengthen our capabilities to service assets further offshore. We are thrilled with the development of our Blue Essence® fleet as we commit to more remote operations and progress towards our goal of net zero emissions by 2035.”
The Fugro Vaquita, developed in partnership with SEA-KIT, is the second of the company’s Blue Essence® USV fleet to operate in European waters. In 2023, Fugro Orca completed multiple projects including several asset integrity and seabed surveys for key clients.