Partners to develop world’s first fully operational and remotely controlled tugboat


In the partnership, Svitzer is bringing the operational experience, as tug-specific technical solutions, while Kongsberg Maritime will provide the remote control systems and the autonomous technology. As for ABS, it will bring the guidance and expertise necessary to obtain regulatory approval.

The aim of the RECOTUG project is to develop a remotely controlled tug that will be able to carry out a full towage operation with all operations controlled from a remote operations centre.

The solution and the achieved safety level shall lead to maritime authorities approving the technology, and allowing Svitzer to perform commercial remote tug operations in the port of Copenhagen. The project is expected to run for the years to come.

Egil Haugsdal, President, Kongsberg Maritime, commented:

At Kongsberg, we believe that digitalisation and enhanced automation are vital to ensuring a safe, sustainable and profitable future for the maritime industry, and the step forward represented by this project is of great importance in demonstrating the application

The project is a continuation of the first Svitzer/Kongsberg Maritime project announced in 2017 centred around remotely operated navigation of the Svitzer Hermod tug in the Port of Copenhagen. As a result of the project, the partners safely carried out a number of remotely controlled, non-towage specific manoeuvres on water. From the quay side in Copenhagen harbour the vessel master, stationed at a remote operating centre, berthed the vessel alongside the quay, undocked, turned 360°, went for a sail and safely docked again.

Additionally, Ingrid Uppelschoten Snelderwaard, Svitzer’s global COO, noted that while we are still several years away from seeing remotely operated tugs with no crew on board in commercial operation, there is no doubt that advanced autonomy is progressing fast across the maritime industry.

Finally, Christopher Wiernicki, ABS Chairman, President and CEO, believes that”safety moves away from the things you can see and touch, to things you cannot see such as software and data’‘.

Greater industry collaboration is going to be key to meeting the challenges of digitalization and maritime sustainability, so ABS is proud to be part of a team that has such a significant role to play in shaping the direction of both



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