Sea-Kit, a 12-metre-long unmanned surface vessel (USV) designed and built in Essex, UK, has docked in the Belgian port city of Oostende following a successful transit from West Mersea to test its uncrewed navigation capabilities through GPS and satellite communication.
The voyage, which lasted 22 hours, is the first crossing of the North Sea by an autonomous commercial vessel.
During the crossing, the USV carried five kilograms of cargo, which is a fraction of its rated maximum payload of up to 2.5 tonnes.
The crossing was conducted with support from the UK Maritime and Coastguard Agency, the UK Department for Transport, the UK Foreign and Commonwealth Office, partner agencies in Belgium, and the European Space Agency.
The USV, which is operated by Sea-Kit International and designed and developed by Hushcraft, is expected to be adapted to a wide range of tasks including transit, hydrographic surveys, environmental missions, and maritime security.
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