They're Now Working on the World's First Unmanned Rescue Vessel for Offshore Energy Sites

Zelim and Chartwell Marine unmanned rescue vessel 6 photos
Photo: Chartwell Marine
Tank testing the free fall unmanned rescue vesselTank testing the free fall unmanned rescue vesselTank testing the free fall unmanned rescue vesselZelim's offshore survival systemZelim's offshore survival system
While generating electricity using ocean-based resources comes with indisputable advantages, offshore energy sites are still risky environments for the personnel working there. A Scottish startup plans to change that and introduce a new standard for offshore safety, with its remotely operated rescue vessel.
Zelim describes itself as a company that believes in saving lives at sea, and its goal is to make offshore operations safer and more cost-effective. The company has partnered with Chartwell Marine, a naval architectural consultancy company, to develop an autonomous lifeboat.

According to Chartwell, the Survivor Class vessel will be mounted onto offshore structures and deployed into the water via an 82 ft (25 m) free fall and will be able to operate in waves that are up to 14.7 ft (4.5 m) high.

With offshore energy sites representing a hazardous environment in which man overboard (MOB) incidents are a constant risk, traditional lifeboats are just not reliable enough. They can take hours to get to the location, especially with most offshore windfarms usually being positioned outside the normal operating zones of rescue vessels. Rescue helicopters aren’t much better either, also requiring over an hour to get to the site of the emergency.

The design of the remotely operated rescue vessel addresses limited mobility challenges, with the Survivor Class featuring a rescue conveyor to recover the victims from the water, an air-conditioned cabin, a helicopter pick-up zone, and easy-open door handles, to name just a few. And with the vessel being unmanned, rescue personnel is no longer at risk.

So far, the two companies have managed to get funding to complete the preliminary design phase and test a free fall rescue vessel prototype. According to Zelim, we’ll probably see a full-size vessel sometime next year.

In addition to the remotely operated rescue vessel, Zelim and Chartwell Marine are also working with other industry partners to develop an entire cohesive offshore survival system, capable of saving lives in the most challenging conditions, as stated by Zelim founder Sam Mayall.

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About the author: Cristina Mircea
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Cristina’s always found writing more comfortable to do than speaking, which is why she chose print over broadcast media in college. When she’s not typing, she also loves riding non-motorized two-wheelers, going on hikes with her dog, and rocking her electric guitars.
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