Zelim, a British start-up company developing a complete lifesaving system for offshore energy, has partnered with British naval architect Chartwell Marine to develop a remotely operated rescue vessel with no crew.
The Survivor-class vessel will be part of Zelim’s offshore rescue system, incorporating search technology and remote operations. To maximise safety in severe weather, Chartwell Marine developed a hull form for a vessel operable in significant wave heights of 4.5m, verified with extensive model testing conducted by independent naval architect Seaspeed Marine Consulting.
The companies say the Survivor-class unmanned rescue vessel introduces a new stage in the rescue chain, aiming to rapidly recover survivors from marine accidents far from shore. It also aims to provide them with an accessible safe haven to recover from the impact of cold-water immersion, where they can await evacuation to shore. The increasing distance of projects from shore renders traditional maritime support ineffective, the partners said. Lifeboats can take several hours to reach the site of the emergency, and even rescue helicopters can take well over an hour. Additionally, offshore windfarms typically lie out of the normal operating zones of such rescue vessels, rendering rescue procedures even more challenging.
After contesting a competitive bid process, the consortium secured finance from the British state development fund Innovate UK funding on two separate occasions, accelerating project timelines to complete the preliminary design phase. The vessel will be mounted onto offshore structures and deployed into the water via a 25m free-fall launching system.
Chartwell and Zelim develop crewless rescue vessel