Abu Dhabi Ports will be collaborating with Robert Allan Ltd to develop the world’s first fully unmanned autonomous commercial tugs. The companies signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) to this effect at the International Maritime Organisation gathering in London.
As per the MoU, both the companies will work together on the research and development of the remotely controlled tugs, which once developed, will join the port’s maritime service arm SAFEEN. The fully-automated tugs will not only increase efficiency and enhance operational safety, but also aim to provide better management of human resources from onboard to onshore services, allowing vessels to operate with greater ability in all kinds of rough weather conditions.
Commenting on the agreement, His Excellency Falah Mohammad Al Ahbabi, Chairman of Abu Dhabi Ports, spoke about the agreement being a milestone in the digital transformation of the ports and their commitment to strengthen its reputation as a leading centre for digital innovation regionally and globally. “It’s a top priority for Abu Dhabi Ports to lead the charge towards digitalising 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.”
Robert Allen Ltd is one of Canada’s oldest privately-owned naval architectural and marine engineering firms and a global commercial vessel designer and tugboat leader. According to its President and CEO Mike Fitzpatrick, the partnership is an exciting opportunity to develop the world’s first fleet of remotely-operated tugboats for the commercial sector and the company 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.”
Abu Dhabi Ports has also been working towards strengthening its other infrastructure with plans for a new cruise jetty at Sir Bani Yas Cruise Beach The AED100mn jetty is slated for a Q4 2020 completion and a 2021 launch