First oil spill autonomous response vessel deployed

The oil and gas industry’s first ever autonomous oil spill response vessel has been deployed in the US.

Boston-headquartered firm Sea Machines Robotics launched the demonstration on board a skimmer boat last week.

The launch of the technology is part of a cooperative agreement with the US Department of Transportation Maritime Administration (MARAD)

The demonstration was watched by a number of marine, government, naval, international, environmental and industry representatives.

Michael G. Johnson, founder and chief executive of Sea Machines, said: Our operation of the world’s first autonomous, remote-commanded spill-response vessel is yet another significant industry first for Sea Machines.

“But even more important is the fact that we’ve proven that our technology can be applied to the marine spill response industry – as well as other marine sectors – to protect the health and lives of mariners responding to spills.

“We are proud to support MSRC’s mission of response preparedness and to work alongside MARAD for these important demonstrations.”

Started in 2015, Sea Machines builds autonomous vessel software and systems to increase the safety and efficiency of ships, work boats and commercial vessels.

Richard Balzano, deputy administrator of MARAD, described the new technology as “the future of the maritime industry”.

He added: “It’s safer, it’s faster, it’s more cost-effective.”

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