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Look what Bjoern at New York Media Boat observed in the the New York Bight

surveying the hithers and the yons of Ambrose Channel and other locales last week.

First, have a good look at the communications “superstructure,” with a FLIR camera, radar, four regular cameras one pointing in each direction, nav lights, lots of solar panels, bunch of other antennas, and who knows what’s inside the hull   Next, a query, which I’ll answer later in the post:  who controls these unmanned surface vessels (USVs) and where is the remote pilot located?

You might recall I was following UI #15 and #19 via AIS also a few days ago, and you may recall

then I mentioned that wherever the USVs were, a small boat named Free Time was near by. 

Later, Bjoern caught the one of the vessels out of the water and had a closer look.  Below, that’s the bow of the trimaran.  The instruments and generator are located in the center hull.  Propulsion comes from a one-cylinder diesel generator.  Diesel fuel capacity is 80 gallons, and I’m not sure what the range is.   

You’re likely wondering what they are doing:  according to Ocean, it’s called forward scouting, and as has been the case for most of this blog’s “exotic” posts, it’s related to offshore wind farm planning

For specs, click here.

Below, note the orange propellers on the ground.   Also, the solar panels, removed and leaning again the hull, can provide a minor amount of power.  With very little sail, these units, of which about 20 exist worldwide, can operate in winds up to 50 knots.

 

I’m guessing this cluster at the deepest draft of the vessel includes the sensors and transponders. 

With props and thrusters, a precise chosen course is followed.  

All photos, thanks to New York Media Boat.  Any errors of interpretation or reporting, WVD.

And  . . . the vessels are piloted/remotely monitored by pilots in the Ireland control center.  Maybe you noted Belfast as registry on the stern.  Free Time is a safety boat, required in the US.

More from this article:  “XOCEAN isn’t the only company riding this wave. There is L3Harris, whose unmanned vessels have been used by the US Navy, Saildrone which has collected data from the Arctic to the equator as part of environmental research, and Ocean Infinity, which is spearheading the development of larger uncrewed vessels.”

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