Ocean Infinity orders more ships for its robot fleet

Written by Nick Blenkey
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Vard 9 60 marine robotic vessel for Ocean Infinity. Designed by Vard Design

Austin, Texas, headquartered Ocean Infinity is adding more, larger, vessels to its fleet of robotic vessels. It has placed an order with Fincantieri group member Vard for eight 78- by 15-meter robotic vessels. They will supplement the fleet of nine 21-meter and 36-meter vessels, ordered earlier this year, which are already in production and expected to operational by early 2021. The first of the new 78-meter vessels is expected to launch in mid-2022.

Described by Ocean Infinity as “optionally crewed,” the onshore-controlled vessels will initially only utilize a skeleton crew onboard. In due course they will be capable of working with no personnel offshore, while also consuming solely renewable fuel such as ammonia.

“The impact and the scale of this robotic fleet will spark the biggest transformation the maritime industry has seen since sail gave way to steam,” said Oliver Plunkett, CEO, Ocean Infinity. “With our new fleet we will be able to provide sustainable services to all corners of the industry from offshore energy, to logistics and transport.”

The vessels will be built at Vard’s Vung Tau, Vietnam shipyard and are scheduled for deliveries in the period from mid-2022 to end-2023.

A number of Vard specialized subsidiaries are involved in the development of the series.

Design and engineering are currently ongoing at Vard Design, and development of onboard control systems at Vard Electro in Ålesund, Norway.


Vard has designed the vessels for an ultra-low carbon footprint and they are among the first vessels to be prepared for green ammonia as a fuel with fuel cell and battery technology.

They provide safe launch and recovery platforms for ROVs and other robotic systems through two large moonpools arranged with Vard’s optimized and well-proven damping system.

“With a high focus in the design process of making the vessels energy efficient, the vessels are equipped with highly optimized hull forms, propellers, and engine arrangements,” says Ove Bjørneset, VP Research and Innovation in Vard. “The vessels are inherently developed for safe and secure prolonged missions with a redundant mindset like split engine and propulsion rooms, redundant cooling systems, sensor systems, automation and power management systems, navigation and communication systems.”

Working with the class society, Vard Electro has further developed its SeaQ Integrated Automation System and SeaQ Power Management System to allow for safe remote operations and cyber-secure communication.Utilizing its experience as a systems integrator, Vard Electro will deliver a complete electrical systems package from engineering through installation, integration, and commissioning.

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