VESSEL REVIEW | Guardian del Mar – Peruvian company’s newest USV to be used for fish finding

VESSEL REVIEW | Guardian del Mar – Peruvian company’s newest USV to be used for fish finding

Photo: Kongsberg Maritime

Peruvian fishing company TASA has acquired a new unmanned surface vehicle (USV) optimised for fish finding and oceanographic and marine resource monitoring.

The Kongsberg Maritime-built Guardian del Mar (“Guardian of the Sea”) is the first unmanned maritime vehicle in operation in Peru and is scheduled to begin sailings with its new owners in September of this year. The USV will be tasked primarily with helping improve efficiency of capture operations and strengthening data acquisition capabilities to improve management of the available biomass.

The craft has a length of eight metres, a speed of 12 knots, and an endurance of more than 400 hours. The vessel can run autonomously or under remote control via a K-MATE autonomy engine, with communication through a Kongsberg maritime broadband radio.

The hull of the USV was designed by a Norwegian lifeboat manufacturer, giving it self-righting ability as well as the ability to withstand hurricane conditions. Kongsberg said, however, that its main advantage is that it is specifically designed for acoustic performance.

The onboard systems include two wideband echosounders and a low-frequency, high-definition fishing sonar from Simrad. The echosounders are operable from a laptop PC or via radio control with data telemetry for remote operations.

The USV will complete its mission objectives autonomously under human supervision and will gradually be upgraded with developments on situational awareness and collision avoidance. During the initial phase of implementing this new technology in its daily operations, TASA will gain valuable experience and training by supervising the USV from a nearby mothership.

The vessel also boasts autonomous capabilities such as anti-grounding, automatic object detection, and CTD casts. Kongsberg said the USV’s operating costs will represent about 0.6 per cent compared to an average vessel of the industrial fishing fleet.

Guardian del Mar joins TASA’s fleet of 48 vessels with the purpose of gathering information on the state of marine resources such as mackerel, horse mackerel, and anchoveta, providing information on the location of schools to make fishing operations more efficient. In this way, the process of deploying the fleet will be made more efficient and will bring about reductions in fuel consumption and the carbon footprint derived from these trips.

TASA will conduct trials of the USV for 12 months in a fish-finder role, operating ahead of trawlers and using its onboard sonar and echosounders to locate schools of fish and then relaying the location back to the company’s head office to inform the rest of the fleet.

The USV will also be used between fishing seasons to acquire oceanographic and fish research data to develop a better understanding of the ocean. Likewise, it will allow the collection of oceanographic information and fishing information that will be available to scientific institutes and analysis departments of TASA to better understand the development of the marine sector related to fishing. Data will also be made available to the Peruvian Navy to inform, identify, and allow people to board in emergency situations.

Click here for more news stories, feature articles, and vessel reviews as part of this month’s focus on unmanned craft.

Guardian del Mar
Type of vessel: USV – Fisheries survey
Owner: TASA, Peru
Builder: Kongsberg Maritime, Norway
Length overall: 8.0 metres
Main engine: Kongsberg K-MATE
Cruising speed: 12 knots
Depth sounders: 2 x Simrad
Radio: Kongsberg
Sonar: Simrad
Operational area: Peru

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