Dutch shipbuilder Da Hoop is claiming the world’s first remotely-operated sea trials with the testing of the a new expedition cruise ship for Silversea Cruises.
Due to COVID-19 travel restrictions, sub-contractors in St. Petersburg, Russia were forced to put the the Silver Origin through its paces off the coast of Goeree-Overflakkee from over 1,100 miles away, carrying out the first remote dynamic positioning acceptance trials. The trials involved the Silver Origin’s ability to remain within 10cm of a fixed point without dropping anchor, allowing the system to be remotely tuned and calibrated.
“This was the first time such an operation has been completed remotely during a sea trial,” says Fre Drenth, the Director of De Hoop Shipyard. “The tuning was successful and took no longer than usual. It demonstrates that it is possible to tune dynamic positioning systems remotely. It could potentially save a lot of traveling time for engineers in the future.”
The dynamic positioning trials was just one of many challenges Da Hoop faced in the final phases of the construction. After the Netherlands implemented a national lockdown in response to the coronavirus pandemic, nearly 200 employees voluntarily stayed on site at the shipyard to complete construction on ship while following strict sanitary procedures, such as daily temperature checks, social distancing mandates, and a one-way system throughout the ship.
“We usually have a large team that participates in the sea trials, but this year was different because of the extraordinary situation,” said Vesa Uuttu, Director of Newbuilds & Site Office NL, Royal Caribbean Cruises Ltd. “Hence, a limited team participated—enough to comply with regulations. It was a proud moment to see the ship perform as it did—for all involved, especially the team at De Hoop who have worked tirelessly to complete the project in these tough circumstances.”