Fugro and AD Ports Group join forces
Fugro and AD Ports Group formalised a collaborative relationship through the signing of an agreement that sets out combined goals to utilise remote and autonomous technologies in the region. The agreement was signed at the ADIPEC 2022 Exhibition in Abu Dhabi by Captain Mohamed Juma Al Shamisi, Managing Director and Group CEO of AD Ports Group (picture, right), and Mark Heine, CEO of Fugro (picture, left).
Fugro is a world-leading geo-data specialist that supports clients in mitigating risk during the design, construction, and operation of their assets, both on land and at sea. AD Ports Group is the UAE’s premier logistics, industry, and trade facilitator, operating integrated business clusters covering digital, economic cities and free zones, logistics, maritime and ports. Fugro is leading the development and deployment of remote and autonomous solutions by establishing a global network of remote operations centres and autonomous vehicles that support the maritime industry for a safe, sustainable, and liveable world. By bringing together Fugro’s industry knowledge and AD Ports Group’s expertise, this partnership will create a platform to implement remote and autonomous technology, and to create guidelines that will ensure the UAE is prepared to welcome, and benefit from, the use of latest industry advancements.
Whilst the agreement formalises the partnership between Fugro and AD Ports Group, the companies have been working together since March 2022 ahead of the arrival of the region’s first USV, the Fugro Pegasus. The USV was recently welcomed into the UAE and will be stationed at Al Mirfa Port, Abu Dhabi. Captain Mohamed Al Yahyaei, Chief Harbour Master of AD Ports Group says, “AD Ports Group is committed to innovating and improving its services, deploying advanced technologies and automation across our operations to drive improvements and greater efficiency. Through strategic collaborations, AD Ports Group brought the world’s first fully uncrewed autonomous commercial marine tugs, as well as the Middle East’s first terminal with an autonomous port truck system, to the UAE. By signing this new agreement with Fugro, we are expanding the range of remote and autonomous technologies available for the maritime sector, as we strive to build a safer, more sustainable and more impactful future.”
The agreement addresses strategic pillars that Fugro and AD Ports Group will tackle together to make Fugro’s USV technologies a successful addition to the region. These pillars include jointly developing procedures for the use and implementation of USVs in accordance with the requirements of the UAE, to establish an approved remote and autonomous testing site for USVs, to create an industry compliant training programme for Emirati nationals and international mariners, covering the operation of USVs or Marine Autonomous Surface Ships (MASS). David Washbrook, Director, Marine Asset Integrity Middle East and India of Fugro, states, “The introduction of our USV technology marks an exciting moment for the maritime industry in the region. The support we have received from AD Ports Group has played a large role in making this a reality and we are proud to call Al Mirfa Port the new home of Fugro Pegasus.”
Automation and the use of remote technologies in the maritime sector can allow vessels and vehicles to operate more efficiently, with greater operational safety, and reduce operational costs. In the case of offshore vessels, automation enables vessels to operate safely in adverse weather conditions. Since 75-96% of marine casualties typically result from human error, increased use of automation in the maritime sector also has the potential to increase safety and reduce accidents.