Reach Subsea Orders Two Unmanned Vessels for ROV Services

reach subsea
Courtesy Reach Subsea

Published Apr 14, 2022 1:36 AM by The Maritime Executive

Subsea services company Reach Subsea has signed a contract for the construction of two unmanned vessels for subsea services, which will be among the first ships of their kind. 

Kongsberg Maritime will implement the project and deliver two purpose-built unmanned vessels, each capable of supporting underwater ROVs by supplying a power, data centers and comms platform at sea. Both the surface vessels and the ROVs will be operated remotely from a shoreside control station, removing the need for habitation spaces on board the vessel itself. 

“We are happy and proud to achieve this important milestone for the Reach Remote project, which will be a gamechanger for the industry and for us. Reach Remote will enable 20-30 percent reduced cost for clients and 90-100 percent reduction in emissions compared to today’s large, manned control vessels,” said CEO of Reach Subsea, Jostein Alendal.

The "Reach Remote" project is a joint effort between Reach Subsea, its part-owner Wilhelmsen, the Wilhelmsen/Kongsberg joint venture Massterly, and Kongsberg Maritime. Wilhelmsen is a leading investor in vessel-autonomy technology, and through Massterly, it has had a hand in some of the most high-profile autonomous-ship projects in recent years. 

The cost was disclosed, and it comes to a total of roughly $45 million for both vessels and associated shoreside infrastructure. The delivery of the first two units is expected in 2023.

"We see firm demand from the traditional oil and gas segments combined with rapidly growing emerging market segments like renewable energy. The interest in Reach Remote is strong in all parts of our global network of customers,” said Jostein Alendal.

The concept is roughly comparable to Ocean Infinity's Armada project, which is also developing autonomous USVs to host and deploy AUV and ROV survey assets without onboard crew. The first Armada vessels are under construction at GMV shipyard in Norway and Vard's yard in Vietnam.