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  • Writer's pictureSarah Whiteford

Noble and Maersk drilling merge, Day for Women in Maritime, Eelume subsea snake robot

It’s Good News Monday!

This Monday we talk about:

  1. Offshore Drillers Noble and Maersk Drilling to Merge

  2. IMO to Establish International Day for Women in Maritime

  3. How to use autonomous tech to cut shipping’s environmental impact

  4. Argeo Taps Eelume 'Snake Robot' for Autonomous Underwater Inspection

  5. Nexans is Set to Open America's First Offshore Wind Cable Plant

Maersk drilling rig on the ocean

Maersk drilling rig. Image from Offshore Engineer.

“Denmark's Maersk Drilling and U.S. rival Noble Corp will merge in a $3.4 billion deal to form one of the world's largest offshore oil drilling rig companies, they said on Wednesday.” The combined company will be taking Noble’s name and is expected to save $125 million per year. Headquarters of the new company will be in Houston, Texas with ownership split evenly among the shareholders of the two companies. The transaction is backed by a majority of shareholders on both sides and the new entity will be listed in New York and Copenhagen. Robert Eifler, the current Noble chief executive, will be CEO of the new corporation. The estimated market cap will be about $3.4 billion post merger.

Woman at the helm of a vessel

“Photo: International Maritime Organization”. Image from gCaptain.

“The UN International Maritime Organization (IMO) will establish an International Day for Women in Maritime, a move some say has been a long time coming.” The IMO established a day of observance to ““celebrate women in the industry, promote the recruitment, retention and sustained employment of women in the maritime sector, raise the profile of women in maritime, strengthen IMO’s commitment to Sustainable Development Goal 5 (to achieve gender equality and empower all women and girls) and support work to address the current gender imbalance in maritime”. The day will be observed on May 18, each year. Currently, there are 24,059 women working as seafarers, or about 1.2% of the global workforce.

Rendering of the Yara Birkeland at dock

“Yara Birkeland autonomous vessel-mooring (source: Yara)”. Image from Riviera.

As the maritime industry looks to decarbonize by at least half by 2050, autonomous technologies can help. These new technologies can mitigate groundings, collisions, and other environmental impacts through better awareness and control. These new technologies can keep vessels on track and to minimize environmental effects and avoid protected areas completely. The ability for AI and automated systems to react to small changes also increases efficiency, giving fuel savings of 10% or more on long voyages by optimizing route and speed. Even reducing docking time can help: “On a two-hour voyage, a mere 60-second reduction in docking time can cut fuel consumption by 2-3% per minute, said Wärtsilä.”

Yara Birkeland, the world’s first autonomous zero-emissions container ship, is expected to make its first delivery later this year in Norway. The vessel will replace 40,000 truck journeys per year, or about 100 per day. We talked about Yara Birkeland just last week along with other autonomous vessels in our article How do autonomous vessels work?

Eelume underwater robot shining light on a pipeline to inspect it

“Image courtesy Eelume/Kongsberg Maritime”. Image from Offshore Engineer.

Eelume’s snake robot has been selected by Argeo AS to assist in its underwater operations. Kongsberg Maritime assisted in development of the technology that is expected to save significant costs on “inspection, light intervention and monitoring (IMR) of subsea assets and infrastructure”. 90% of IMR costs are related to the vessels, but Eelume’s solution will eliminate the need for up to 70% of those vessel activities. Eelume was founded in 2015, with Kongsberg being involved from the beginning. Demand is increasing for autonomous offshore robots that do not require human supervision on site. One Eelume robot can service 50-75 square kilometers of underwater real estate, a number that rises when paired with unmanned surface vehicles (USVs) that can deploy and recover the inspection robots.

Nexans' cable plant on the coast in South Carolina

“Nexans' plant in Charleston, South Carolina (file image courtesy Nexans)”. Image from The Maritime Executive.

“French cable manufacturer Nexans is preparing to open a new high-voltage subsea power cable plant in South Carolina, fulfilling a 2019 deal with wind farm developers Ørsted and Eversource.” This is the first plant of its kind in the United States, being developed to support Ørsted’s East Coast offshore wind projects through 2027. The plant is building onto an existing cable production facility with $200 million in additional investment. The Nexans Aurora is contracted for the Empire Wind cabling work, under a ruling that allows foreign-flagged vessels to lay cable in U.S. waters.

Smile, it’s Good News Monday! :-)


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