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Sunday, May 12, 2019

Sea Kit journeys to Orstend Belgium ~ with no humans on board !!


Marina beach -  Chennai coastline is so pleasant, especially in hot summer days – we played Cricket on the roads, and sat near the shore watching waves raising and trying to reach the sand .. .. .. and in distant vicinity would be a couple of ships !  - Bay of Bengal is a vast expanse of sea .. Oceans are big  - very difficult to gauge (not only their depth) but also their expanse.    Sea (water) covers over 70% of the Earth’s surface, is home to millions of species of life, and it makes up 97% of all water on the planet. But, with this massive size and ubiquity also comes a significant challenge for humans interested in trade: it must be constantly traversed in order for us to move goods around. As a result, millions of people hit the high seas each day to get cargo from one place to another. The vessels used range from tiny sailboats to massive oil tankers, some of which can get up to four football fields in length. ~ and there are lakhs of boats at sea at any given point of time. There are cargo ships, Container ships, dredgers, tankers, passenger ships, cruises,  Ro-Ro and many more.   Here is a live map from Marine traffic.com.

Looks overcrowded that city roads !  ~ and in the melee a small ship carrying British oysters to Belgium  is sensational news as it  successfully completed the delivery of the 11 pounds (5kg) of shellfish  ~ it then  made a return journey with some Belgian beer on-board.  Two workers completed the 22-hour trip from a control centre in Essex  

Mollusca -  known as molluscs or mollusks. Around 85,000 extant species of molluscs are recognized. Molluscs are the largest marine phylum, comprising about 23% of all the named marine organisms. Numerous molluscs also live in freshwater and terrestrial habitats. They are highly diverse, not just in size and in anatomical structure, but also in behaviour and in habitat. The phylum is typically divided into 8 or 9 taxonomic classes, of which two are entirely extinct.

Mersea Island is an island in Essex, England, in the Blackwater and Colne estuaries to the south-east of Colchester. Its name comes from the Old English word meresig, meaning "island of the pool" and thus is tautological.  The island is split into two main areas, West Mersea and East Mersea, and connected to the mainland by the Strood, a causeway that can flood at high tide. Mersea Island molluscs were on-board the 40-foot (12 m) long Sea-Kit vessel heading to Orstend in Belgium. ~ if you have read this well enough, it is unique because there were no  humans  on-board the ship as it became the first unmanned cargo mission ever  !

The Sea kit, a remote-controlled ship carrying British oysters to Belgium becamethe first cargo vessel in the world to traverse the seas without a crew.  It successfully completed the delivery of the 11 pounds (5kg) of shellfish ~ and returned  with some Belgian beer on-board.  No humans were on board and two workers completed the 22-hour trip from a control centre in Essex. Myriad technological gadgets and innovations fed data back to a control room in Maldon, Essex.  The British vessel is equipped with cameras, radar, microphones, thermal imaging and a back-up autonomous system to keep it and other sea-goers safe.   'This voyage has been months in the making, and to see it all come together is amazing,' said Ben Simpson of SEA-KIT International Ltd.  '[The USV's] potential lies in its ability to be adapted to a range of tasks, whether it be transit, hydrographic surveys, environmental missions, or marine safety and security. We're tremendously excited to push the technology to its limits and see what we can achieve.'  Its journey across the Channel opens up the possibility for future trips also without a crew.

Sea-Kit is capable of speeds of up to four knots (4.6mph), has a capacity of up to 2.5 tonnes and is powered by a hybrid electric-diesel engine.   Remote pilots use a system known as Global Situation Awareness' which obtains location data from on-board GPS and radar. The intrepid mission was done with the support of the UK Maritime and Coastguard Agency, the Department for Transport, the Foreign Office, officials in Belgium and the European Space Agency. Its developers say that, in the event of catastrophic failure of these systems, the autonomous features will kick in and allow it to avoid a collision.  This, according to its developers, is the direction the company envisions the project going, as autonomy becomes a viable full-time prospect.  Future endeavours will involve larger vessels by the mid-2020s and other firms, such as engineering giant Rolls-Royce also focuses on autonomous shipping.

According to a senior lecturer at Solent University, the technology is 'already there' but faces bureaucratic hurdles.    Another professor from Gresham College, said: 'There are obvious benefits, such as removing people from a potentially dangerous environment.'
Sea-Kit is a British vessel was designed by Hushcraft Ltd in Tollesbury, Essex and SEA-KIT Maxlimer was initially developed to take part in the Shell Ocean Discovery XPRIZE to find new ways to map the seafloor.  The 40-foot (12 m) long Sea-Kit vessel is capable of speeds of up to four knots (4.6mph), has a capacity of up to 2.5 tonnes and is powered by a hybrid electric-diesel engine.  Its relatively small with dimensions of :  40 foot (11.75m) long and 7.2 feet (2.2m) wide; has Hybrid diesel-electric system propulsion and can speed upto  22,000km at 4 knots (4.6mph)

Interesting !

With regards – S. Sampathkumar
12th May 2019.

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