First Uncrewed Vessel Survey in Irish Waters

In a first for Ireland, an Uncrewed Surface Vessel (USV) was launched by XOCEAN off the Co. Louth coast last week, to undertake an environmental survey of the seabed in collaboration with Dundalk Institute of Technology (DkIT). This is the first time an uncrewed vessel has operated in Irish waters and represents a major step forward in reducing the carbon footprint associated with offshore survey operations. XOCEAN’s carbon-neutral approach to delivering marine data has seen demand for its services grow steadily since it commenced operations in 2019, and with clients across the globe, and revenue tripling in 2021, the company is set to continue its impressive growth trajectory in 2022.

XOCEAN is pioneering uncrewed marine technology and to-date has delivered over 100 projects globally for some of the world’s largest companies. In the last 12 months, the XOCEAN team has grown from 41 to 120 and plans to recruit 100 additional hires in the next 6 months.Ireland is fast-tracking the development of its offshore wind sector in line with commitments to increase offshore wind capacity to 3.5GW as part of the government’s ambitions to deliver 70% of electricity from renewable sources by 2030, as a result of the 2019 Climate Action Plan. This environmental research survey, utilising multi-beam echo-sounder sensors will be used to characterise the seabed in this area of the Irish Sea.

XOCEAN’s USVs offer significant benefits including safety with operators remaining onshore, efficiency with 24/7 operations and environmental with ultra-low emissions which together leads to significant economic savings for customers. The uncrewed vessel is around the size of an average car (4.5 metres) and half its weight (750kg) and emits just one thousandth of the carbon typically produced by traditional offshore survey vessels. Throughout the survey, a team of qualified mariners and surveyors monitored the USV 24/7 to ensure the safety of navigation and that the highest quality data was collected.

Having operated in 16 jurisdictions globally in North America, Europe and Asia, XOCEAN is delighted to have completed last week’s survey in Irish waters and is grateful to the Minister of State at the Department of Transport, Hildegarde Naughton T.D. and the Marine Survey Office for their engagement and support in enabling this highly innovative project to be delivered.

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