General – USV Approval
Fugro’s Blue Essence, a 12 m uncrewed surface vessel (USV), has received approval from the Maritime and Coastguard Agency (MCA) to operate the first USV with an electrical remotely operated vehicle (eROV) in UK waters.
The MCA is the government body that regulates vessels in the UK ensuring they meet technical, safety and environmental requirements of the region.
Fugro sees this as a breakthrough development as USVs play a vital role in the future of the maritime sector by improving safety, reducing carbon emissions, and delivering data more efficiently.
With previous maritime regulations based on crewed vessels, the MCA has been working in consultation with companies like Fugro to help drive innovation without compromising safety. Fugro was able to demonstrate the operational safety of its USVs to the satisfaction of the MCA as maritime regulator.
The MCA granted Blue Essence category 2 approval, meaning the vessel can be operated within 60 nautical miles of a ‘safe haven’; the next stage in the UK regulatory process will be to obtain Category 0 MCA approval which will allow the vessel unrestricted service subject to agreement of relevant port authorities.