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  • Writer's pictureSarah Whiteford

New SpaceX drone ship, Huisman 3D printed crane hooks, first US electric tug from Crowley

It’s Good News Monday!

This Monday we talk about:

  1. Elon Musk unveils SpaceX's newest drone ship for rocket landings at sea

  2. Huisman Scales Up 3D Printing

  3. Crowley Planning First Fully-Electric Tug

  4. Battery upgrade is first for Canadian OSV market

  5. Coast Guard Seeks Public’s Help Developing Mass Casualty at Sea Lifesaving Device

  6. VIDEO: Human-robot teams to service offshore windfarms ‘within the decade’

SpaceX A Shortfall of Gravitas travelling on the ocean

“SpaceX's newest drone ship, A Shortfall of Gravitas, is headed to Florida to catch Falcon 9 rocket boosters at sea. (Image credit: SpaceX via Elon Musk/Twitter).”

A Shortfall of Gravitas, SpaceX’s newest autonomous drone ship for catching rockets has just been revealed. It’s fully automated and self powered, requiring no tugs for movement. It will spend its time in the Atlantic Ocean near the Kennedy Space Center in Florida where Falcon Heavy and Falcon 9 rockets regularly lift off to bring astronauts, supplies, and satellites into space. When the rockets return to Earth, this is one of two ships that will be available to catch them. A Shortfall of Gravitas will replace Of Course I Still Love You, working with Just Read the Instructions or JRTI for short. A third drone ship is in the works. Check out the original article at for the science fiction history of the names of these vessels.

Huisman 3D printed crane hook

“(Photo: Huisman)”.

Huisman tested four 3D printed crane hooks rated at 350mt under Lloyd’s Register supervision. The new hooks are much larger than the first hooks Huisman 3D printed at 170 by 130cm in size and 1,700 kg. Every hook is composed of about 90 kilometers of welding wire. Offshore Engineer said: “Huisman has been employing the 3D printing technique ‘Wire & Arc Additive Manufacturing’ (WAAM) to produce mid-size to large components with high-grade tensile steel. According to the company, an important benefit of using this technique for crane hooks is the significant reduction in delivery time at a cost that competes with forgings and castings, and a more consistent quality level.” Huisman is planning to upgrade their facility in the Czech Republic, after which it will be able to produce hooks up to 5,000 kg.

Crowley all-electric tug render

“Illustration credit Crowley Maritime Corporation”

Crowley is planning to build the first all-electric tug in the United States. The new vessel is called eWolf and will assist ships at the Port of San Diego’s Tenth Avenue Marine Terminal in mid 2023. According to Tom Crowley, Chairman and CEO: “The eWolf represents everything Crowley stands for: innovation, sustainability and performance. With this groundbreaking tug design, our team continues to embrace our role as leaders in the maritime industry while providing our customers with innovative and sustainable solutions done right.” During its first 10 years of service, eWolf will save 30,000+ gallons of fuel, 3,100 tons of CO2, 178 tons of nitrogen oxide, and 2.5 tons of diesel particulate matter. The new vessel will be 82 feet long with 70 tons of bollard pull.

Atlantic Shrike OSV on the ocean

“Four-year-old Atlantic Shrike will trim 800 tonnes of CO2e annually by using battery technology (source: Atlantic Towing)”

Vard Electro has been contracted by Atlantic Towing for a containerised hybrid-battery power system for the Atlantic Shrike platform supply vessel, or PSV. Petroleum Research Newfoundland & Labrador provided the $3.9M grant to upgrade the diesel electric vessel. The four year old ship will be receiving the SeaQ Energy Storage System to reduce fuel consumption, emissions, and maintenance costs. Atlantic Shrike could save up to 800 tonnes of CO2 equivalent per year after the conversion. According to Riviera, “SeaQ ESS can be used as a spinning reserve in DP operations, to enhance dynamic response, to perform peak shaving of loads, for strategic loading where the operating point of the gensets is optimised for battery-only operations with zero emissions.”

Costa Concordia after collision

“Costa Concordia after the initial disaster. Photo courtesy Rvongher/Wikimedia Commons”

The U.S. Coast Guard and the Department of Homeland Security Science and Technology Directorate released the “Mass Rescue Operations Lifesaving Device Broad Agency Announcement” to get help developing a new technology to save lives in mass-casualty events at sea. “The solicitation asks innovators, industry, academia, and laboratories to submit solutions for a large capacity-floating device to keep survivors out of the water during mass rescue operations,” gCaptain said. The device would be for one-time use when lifeboats and other security systems are inoperable, the Coast Guard could then deploy the solution in those situations. The deadline for submission is August 5, 2021.

BladeBUG crawler on a wind turbine

“BladeBUG's blade crawler climbs a blade at ORE Catapult's Levenmouth demonstration turbine (source: BladeBUG Ltd/Tony Fong)”

The MIMRee project is expected to put human and robot teams on wind farms within 10 years. The goal is to have an autonomous robotic team to inspect and repair turbines, minimizing potentially dangerous human maintenance. According to Riviera, “Under the MIMRee scenario, a Thales autonomous mothership detects defects in the blades on a wind turbine using an onboard inspection system that can scan their structure while they are still turning.” The ship can then send a stop turning signal to the turbine, then launch a drone to deliver the crawler onto the structure. The Offshore Renewable Energy (ORE) Catapult is leading the project, and says by 2050 the system may be able to plan its own missions. It also reduces the cost of energy, hazardous environments for human workers, and a 27% reduction in operating expenses. The BladeBUG robot from BladeBUG Ltd is part of the technology that will eventually make this possible.

Smile, it’s Good News Monday! :-)


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