World’s First: Abu Dhabi Builds Autonomous Tug

Maritime Activity Reports, Inc.

March 4, 2020

Image: Abu Dhabi Ports

Image: Abu Dhabi Ports

Abu Dhabi Ports has signed an agreement with Canadian naval architects Robert Allan Ltd to develop the world's first fully autonomous commercial marine tugs.

The tugs will undertake operations with SAFEEN, Abu Dhabi Ports’ maritime service arm.

One of the primary advantages of the innovative design includes greater capability, as shifting the human element from on-board to on-shore, will allow such vessels to operate in far more adverse weather conditions. Furthermore, the new technology will help increase efficiency and enhance operational safety.

Abu Dhabi Ports will work closely with one of Canada’s oldest privately-owned Naval Architectural and Marine Engineering firms on the research and development of remotely-controlled marine tugs that will be fully unmanned, and be able to operate within a wide spectrum of autonomy.

Falah Mohammad Al Ahbabi, Chairman of Abu Dhabi Ports said: “It’s a top priority for Abu Dhabi Ports to lead the charge towards digitalizing the region’s maritime operations, and we are committed to providing a pioneering model for the sector. 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.”

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.”

Commenting on the MoU, Mike Fitzpatrick, President and CEO of Robert Allan Ltd., said: “Robert Allen Ltd. has been working on solutions to the technical challenges of an unmanned tugboat for several years now, but we were somewhat stalled in progressing to a commercial construction without an opportunity like this with Abu Dhabi Ports.”

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