|04 March, 2020

Abu Dhabi Ports to develop autonomous tugs with Robert Allan

The tugs will join SAFEEN, Abu Dhabi Ports’ maritime service arm

A container ship is moored at Abu Dhabi's Khalifa Port after it was expanded in Abu Dhabi, UAE, December 11, 2019.

A container ship is moored at Abu Dhabi's Khalifa Port after it was expanded in Abu Dhabi, UAE, December 11, 2019.

REUTERS/Satish Kumar
Abu Dhabi Ports has announced its collaboration with a designer and tugboat leader, Robert Allan Ltd, to develop the world’s first fully unmanned autonomous commercial marine tugs.
One of the primary advantages of the innovative design will be greater capability, Abu Dhabi Ports said in a statement. By shifting the human element from on-board to on-shore, vessels will be able to operate in far more adverse weather conditions, it added.
Furthermore, the new technology will help increase efficiency and enhance operational safety.
Abu Dhabi Ports signed a Memorandum of Understanding with Robert Allen, one of Canada’s oldest privately-owned Naval Architectural and Marine Engineering firms, which will see the two work closely on the research and development of remotely controlled marine tugs that the port said would be fully unmanned and be able to operate within a wide spectrum of autonomy.
Falah Mohammad Al Ahbabi, Chairman of Abu Dhabi Ports said the agreement marks `a milestone’ in the company’s digital transformation.
“It’s a top priority for Abu Dhabi Ports to lead the charge towards digitalising the region’s maritime operations, and we are committed to providing a pioneering model for the sector,” Al Ahbabi said.
“Adopting digital solutions and keeping up with the changing demands of global trade have proven to be key drivers for economic growth and are integral towards achieving our goal of being a smart port.”
“Developing solutions and building strategic partnerships with industry experts will help achieve a paradigm shift in maritime operations worldwide, and globally in line with the directives of the leadership."
Once developed, the tugs will join SAFEEN, Abu Dhabi Ports’ maritime service arm.
Captain Mohamed Juma Al Shamisi, Abu Dhabi Ports Group CEO, said: “Our cooperation with Robert Allan to develop a new generation of tugboats equipped with superior capabilities and modern technologies, reflects our commitment to ensuring that the infrastructure at Abu Dhabi Ports is at the cutting edge.”
“We are engaged to provide smart and innovative digital solutions to the marine trade and port community, and to our valued customers. This agreement marks another qualitative addition to our digital armoury that will enhance performance efficiency, productivity, transparency, and safety, as well as reduce costs. Continuing our investment in technology and advanced infrastructure ensures the growth and sustainability of our business, and increases our contribution towards the diversification of Abu Dhabi’s knowledge-based economy,” he added.
Commenting on the MoU, Mike Fitzpatrick, President and CEO of Robert Allan Ltd., said: “We are excited to cooperate with Abu Dhabi Ports in this initiative, which provides us with an optimal opportunity to develop the world’s first fleet of remotely-operated tugboats for the commercial sector. The unique aspect of this project is the active participation of all the various stakeholders in Abu Dhabi and the UAE, which should ensure that we can progress smoothly from construction of the vessels to commercial operations.” --TradeArabia News Service

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