Seafar receives AiP from Bureau Veritas for remote vessel operations technology


Seafar NV, an Antwerp-based industry leader in the development and operational integration of technologies for remote vessel operations, has recently been granted Approval in Principle (AiP) by Bureau Veritas (BV), a global leader in the Testing, Inspection, and Certification (TIC) industry, for a new communication system that is part of its remote control technology solution for ships.

Seafar NV manages and operates unmanned and crew-reduced inland and coastal vessels via Remote Operations Centers (ROC). The new digital solution is a synchronous control communication system that supports the transfer of onboard functions to the shore. The technology also enables captains to transfer between ROC desks during periods of ships’ inactivity, removing the need for them to physically move between vessels. As a result, Seafar’s communication system offers a solution to enhance manning efficiency and increase the competitiveness of waterborne transport, with an emphasis on effective and safe operations.

Designed to support fully remote control operations at Degree RC3, as defined in BV Guidance Note NI641 Guidelines for Autonomous Shipping, the system has demonstrated the capacity to ensure low stable latency, protection against message errors, and outage contingencies. Seafar has equipped more than 40 ships with its communication system, allowing for crew reduction or even unmanned operation.

The AiP was conducted in accordance with the notation SYNC-COM, as described in BV Rule Note NR467 Rules for the Classification of Steel Ships.

Louis-Robert Cool (pictured, third from left), CEO of Seafar NV, stated: “Receiving the Approval in Principle from Bureau Veritas marks a significant achievement for Seafar NV. This endorsement validates our commitment to pioneering advancements in semi-autonomous and unmanned shipping technologies. Our new communication system, designed to enhance manning efficiency and ensure safe operations, is now recognized for its robustness and reliability. This AiP not only reinforces our position at the forefront of maritime innovation, but also underscores our dedication to driving the future of remote vessel operations.”

Rik De Petter (pictured, second from left), Chief Executive Belgium at Bureau Veritas Marine & Offshore, commented: “We are delighted to issue this AiP certificate in compliance with BV’s notation SYNC-COM. Our collaboration with Seafar NV signifies our ongoing commitment to advancing autonomous solutions for the maritime industry. BV understands the critical role of robust ship-shore control communications, and Seafar NV’s new communication system represents significant progress in this regard. It is our pleasure to accompany Seafar NV in the journey towards scalable and reliable remote operations.”