The Maju 510 tug performing autonomous navigation. Image credit: ABB
A future where waterways are plied by autonomous vessels moved a little closer this week.
Harbor tug Maju 510 became the first vessel in the world to receive the Autonomous and Remote-Control Navigation Notation from ABS classification society.
The vessel also became the first Singapore-flagged vessel to receive the Smart (Autonomous) Notation from the Singapore Maritime and Port Authority (MPA).
The awards follow a demonstration of autonomous collision avoidance capabilities in trials conducted at Raffles Reserved Anchorage, off Singapore Island, in March 2022.
Keppel Offshore & Marine (Keppel O&M) is the project lead for the autonomous solutions on the Maju 510, which is owned and operated by Keppel Smit Towage.
The vessel users various automation technologies from ABB.
While fully automated ocean going vessels are still some way into the future, they offer clear benefits not only in terms of improved safety, but crew-less vessels are also more energy efficient as they can dispense with features such as lighting, heating, and other human support systems.