Startup develops world’s first unmanned rescue vessel for offshore wind industry

Zelim, a Scottish startup, and naval architect Chartwell Marine have partnered to develop the world’s first unmanned rescue vessel for the offshore wind industry.

‘Survivor 1’ is an 11-meter long, 9-ton lifeboat equipped with a conveyor belt for water rescues. The vessel is deployed from a fixed offshore structure via a 25-meter free fall and is remote controlled.

“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,” said Zelim founder Sam Mayall. “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.”

Global offshore wind installations totaled 5.5 GW in 2020, according to the U.S. Dept. of Energy. The Global Wind Energy Council estimates 235 GW of new offshore wind capacity will be installed over the next decade. Meanwhile, the Biden administration wants to reach 30 GW of offshore wind energy in the U.S. by 2030.

Zelim and Chartwell aim to address the dangers posed by crews working on turbines that continue to increase in size– in areas with deeper water. Survivor 1 is capable of operating in 4.5m wave heights.