Feature 3 | ROVS AND AUVS SOLUS system to enable USV handling

Henriksen’s new launch and recovery system is designed to support both manned and unmanned craſt operations, without replacing or modifying existing davits


enriksen Hooks has released a new launch and recovery system (LARS), capable of deploying and

retrieving unmanned surface vehicles (USVs). Named the SOLUS, the system incorporates technology created by Henriksen and fellow Norwegian company Vestdavit, and is intended to simplify the launch/recovery processes for these vessel types. Te system has been designed to be

used on existing davits, thereby removing the need to purchase new davits or order special equipment to incorporate the SOLUS. According to Ole Rasmus Undrum, sales manager at Henriksen: “If you have a USV and a rescue boat on board, you can simply stack them – you don’t need separate systems for each boat.”

Recovery process Te launch procedure for the USV is the same as that for conventional manned craſt. Henriksen explains: “Te activated liſting hook[s] open[s] and release[s] the liſting line[s] automatically when the USV

The new SOLUS

system, developed by Henriksen and Vestdavit, pictured handling an unmanned RIB

is waterborne. Te painter hook opens and releases the painter line after the liſting hook[s] has/have opened, enabling the USV to drive off.” The recovery process differs from

conventional operations, however. Aſter the USV has returned to the side of the mother vessel, the crew hoists a remotely controlled telescopic pole, which liſts a rope connected to both the main hook and the painter hook on the USV side, and connected to the davit on the mother ship. Tis pole can extend up to 3-4m in height.

“Te connection rope is divided into two pieces – one for the painter hook, at the front, and the other for the main hook, which does the liſting,” Undrum explains. Once the painter line and liſting line are connected, the USV is liſted and returned to its storage crib on the mother vessel. The SOLUS is designed for safe

operations in minimum conditions of sea state 4. Te system was also developed to meet SOLAS requirements, in recognition of the fact that it can also be used to assist the launch/recovery of manned craſt. OMT

ROV sector: ready for recovery?

Industry analyst Westwood forecasts an upturn in demand by 2023 – but don’t expect a full return to pre-downturn utilisation rates

T 14

he next four years could well see the global ROV sector bounce back from the doldrums of 2017, according to a

report issued by energy analyst Westwood. The group’s World ROV Operations

Market Forecast predicts that demand for “traditional” oil and gas applications, as well as for “new offshore support roles”, will help to stoke an upturn in demand for these assets. Westwood predicts that global utilisation

of ROVs, which sank to 32% in 2017 due to significant oversupply, could hit the 50% mark by 2023. Although a welcome increase, this percentage would still fall slightly short of the 55% recorded in 2014, before the market went belly-up. Te analyst

blames “a slow recovery in day rates” as the biggest “constraint” to ROV expenditure. Companies involved in drilling support will

most likely account for this growth, the report suggests, predicting that related activities will come to account for 40% of total ROV expenditure up until 2023. Brazil, Guyana and the Falkland Islands will constitute demand hotspots, Westwood says, adding: “Global ROV demand [will] total 680,917 days over 2019-2023, growing at a 4% CAGR off the back of improved market conditions.”

IRM support Meanwhile, the report predicts that ageing infrastructure and assets

will likely spur an 11% increase in demand for tasks related to inspection, maintenance and repair (IRM) support. Taken alone, IRM support could account for US$2.2 billion of expenditure over the forecast, Westwood writes. From an operational point of view,

we can also expect to see significant advances in vehicle autonomy over the next four years, plus ROV excursions into deeper waters, Westwood adds, commenting: “Subsea resident ROVs remain a long-term goal for oil and gas operators as developments are sanctioned in ever more challenging and remote locations.” OMT

Offshore Marine Technology 2nd Quarter 2019

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