The molluscs were caught in Essex and transported to Belgium on a 12 m (39 ft) aluminum-hulled vessel that crossed the English Channel with no individuals on board. It was the first unmanned commercial shipping operation in the world. Four individuals closely watched the crewless vessel at a control center in Tollesbury, Essex, Hushcraft headquarters, the business behind design and development.
Unmanned cargo ship by 2025
UK and Belgian coastguards also monitored the oysters’ progress.
“You could actually listen to the waves hitting the boat,” says Ben Simpson, Hushcraft’s managing director.
It boasts a hybrid diesel engine, electrical generators, satellite links, CCTV and thermal cameras, an automatic identification system to warn approaching vessels of its position and more.
The boat was made by Sea-Kit and the same ship helped an international team of hydrographers, funded by the Japanese non-profit Nippon Foundation, win the $4 m (£ 3.2 m) Shell Ocean Discovery X Prize for advances in autonomous mapping of oceans. Now Hushcraft wants Sea-Kit to be used for cargo transportation, mounting the 5 kg oyster box— a local delicacy — onto the ship and returning it to the vessel. But is there for it a market?
“They are better for the atmosphere because they can be powered electrically, and since they can use lower ports they can substitute road transport and cut even more fumes, he claims. There are many advantages,” Mr Simpson says. “You can send them around the world at a significantly reduced cost to do different jobs. Then you don’t have to have a galley, you don’t have to have bathrooms, you can use room.”
They are better for the atmosphere because they can be powered electrically and because they can use lower ports they can substitute road transport and cut even more fumes, he claims.
Source : BBC News