Chartwell Marine and Zelim design unmanned rescue vessel

4C Offshore | Tom Russell
By: 21/09/2021 Zelim
Zelim, a start-up developing a lifesaving system for offshore energy, has partnered with naval architect Chartwell Marine to deliver a remotely operated rescue vessel. The "Survivor Class" vessel will incorporate search technology & remote operations.

Zelim and Chartwell’s "Survivor Class" unmanned rescue vessel aims to introduce a new stage in the rescue chain, rapidly recovering any man overboard (MOB) and providing them with an accessible safe haven from the debilitating effects of cold-water immersion, where they can await evacuation to shore.

The vessel has been designed ‘casualty first’, with features to address limited mobility challenges, such as a rescue conveyor for recovering MOBs from the water, easy-open door handles, an air-conditioned cabin, and a helicopter pick up zone. The companies stated that, as an unmanned, remotely operated vessel, deployment time is reduced while also limiting collateral risk for rescue personnel.

The consortium secured Innovate UK funding on two separate occasions, accelerating project timelines to complete the preliminary design phase. The last tranche of funding is being used to deliver the full design and shipyard tender, build oversight and testing.

The vessel will be mounted onto offshore structures and deployed into the water via a 25m free fall following MOB or helicopter downing incidents. In an effort to maximise safety in severe weather conditions, Chartwell Marine designed a hull form to allow the vessel to operate in significant wave heights of 4.5m. The company stated it had been verified with extensive model testing conducted by independent naval architect Seaspeed Marine Consulting.

Andy Page, Managing Director, Chartwell Marine, said: “Designing the Survivor Class gave us a great opportunity to apply our offshore wind expertise to new challenges, such as free-fall water entry and casualty recovery. For example, the two waterjets will activate prior to contact with the water to stop the vessel drifting backwards into the turbine. Zelim has shown strong leadership in making offshore wind a safer industry, and we are excited to see where the partnership goes next.”

Sam Mayall, Founder, Zelim, said: “As offshore wind continues to scale up to meet the growing global demand for clean energy, ensuring the safety of seafarers and technicians is critical. That’s why we are working with Chartwell Marine and other industry partners to develop a cohesive offshore survival system, beyond the vessel itself, engaging with operators and regulators to make sure it is fit to save lives in some of the most challenging conditions imaginable.”