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For some context, by this time this scheduled post appears,  I will have completed step 4, and I’ll come back for all the other NOL river sights, but for now, enjoy this one from the waters of the crescent city.

My first association upon reading “unmanned” on this small craft relates to a Hemingway novel and a character who suffered a war wound that . . . unmanned . . . him.  I guess that this is not the reference here, however. 

Here’s a question:  why include blacked-out windows on an uncrewed vessel?

Dry Tortugas serves as support vessel; in fact, behold the afterdeck . . .

there’s a companion, a twin,  supported there.

If the first boat we saw was Savior 1, then this must be Savior 2.


In faint lettering, there’s the Savior 2 name.  Here’s an article about Romeo Papa Boats.

All photos, any errors, WVD, who’s not sure he sees these boats in NOL as tugster or traxster, but thinks it does not really matter.

Addendum:  When they returned a few hours later, I noticed a window open and now I call BS on the “unmanned” claim.  Maybe the sign could say “observer on board this driverless boat.”

All photos, any errors, WVD.

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.”

aka . . .  where we heading?

Down on the Jersey Shore some puzzling instruments float or drift or play … or whatever verb an instrument does.  The fact that said instruments are GB-registered (I thought it was the UK?) leads me to suspect this associated with that Ford etc. Unfortunately I was not there, so the only image I have are these from my phone/AIS app.   Some blogs readers have reported seeing unusual aircraft in that area as well, which might monitor UAVs like these or USVs like these.  Then there are UUVs . . . NOMARS  . . .  or all these . . .   it just goes on to a future unknown.

 Here is a CRS report on “plans” released last week.  Here is a summer 2019 tugster post on USVs.  And from earlier this year, it’s unmanned Sea Hawk.

Another indicator of incoming change is here, a tanker bearing sizeable external tanks.  When it was farther out, I didn’t take photos because I couldn’t imagine what I was seeing, very white shapes, I first thought, diffuse floodlights.

But at this, I knew:  it must be a dual-fuel vessel, at least the current iteration of it.  Back in August I saw a methanol-powered tanker, or so marked. LNG bunkering in the US is very limited at the moment.  Here’s what seems to be available in Asia and Europe.

Combusting different fuels must require additional “exhaust” configuration.

Proteus Jessica is a crude oil tanker and brand-new, launched in 2022;  she may be the latest  newest hull in the boro.

And then there’s this! Apollonia the merchant schooner has been around for a few years, but this was my first time to see her.  I’ll do another post on the schooner, but consider this photo for now:  new fuel and old fuel. Does anyone have Apollonia upriver photos under sail to share?  I’ve not seen any.

All photos, any errors, WVD, who wonders what sixth boro October 2032 will look like.


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March 2023