Anchor manufacturer Maxwell Marine has been contracted to design and supply a technical anchoring system for the first uncrewed surface vessels (USVs) which will be used for offshore met-ocean measurement campaigns in the wind farm industry.
A prototype vessel has completed its trials in Norwegian and Danish waters, working at times in hurricane force winds and testing the anchor system to the limit. The first finalised build will be launched by the end of 2023.
Ten of the vessels will be built by the Tuco Marine Group in Denmark for offshore wind farm developer, Ørsted.
The Maxwell anchoring system will have fully autonomous operation – windlass and roller stopper – and the ability to retrieve very long lengths of chain.
This requires the system to be capable of dealing with high forces in extreme weather conditions. With the USVs spending at least half a year at sea, with no human intervention, low maintenance is also essential.
The USVs will bring measurement equipment to and from offshore sites without the need for large, specialised support vessels.
While on site, they will operate autonomously for extended periods of time, measuring data that can be sent onshore and processed in real time, essential for Ørsted’s early-phase development activities prior to the construction of new wind farms.
“We were keen to be involved in the development stage of the prototype of the Ørsted USV, as it was clear the vessels will help lower emissions and the uncertainties in the expected annual energy production for new offshore wind farms,” said Thierry Vermeer, Maxwell Marine sales manager.
“The project also displayed how good cooperation between a number of partners can produce a result such as the Ørsted USV which will provide a substantial contribution to our sustainable future.”