back to article Crewless dinghy signs to UK Ship Register for Middle East mission

The UK Ship Register signed up its first unmanned vessel on earlier this week. ASV, an autonomous boat builder based on the Solent, has been sending its ships to work around the world since 2007, but had not needed to register them. However, in order to assist a new gas pipeline project in Egypt, where local laws state that …

  1. Alistair Silver badge
    Windows

    I'm going to suggest

    "more quickly than" should be phrased as "less expensively than".

    It would certainly be possible to have a second craft following the laying craft and performing this service. It makes neither financial nor logical sense to do so in this day and age, and this will save buckets of money on that step of the process.

    <corrected typo in edit>

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: I'm going to suggest

      Beat me to it. However, I imagine the lack of humans on board will indeed make things go more quickly, if only a little. Safer too, since there's no one on board to be hurt.

      The only wrinkle comes if/when that boat hits something else. Seems unlikely tho. The sea doesn't have a lot of damn fools and maniacs driving around on it like the land does, greatly simplifying the navigation task of the autopilot.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: I'm going to suggest

        I really hate saying this: Except if the US Navy is about.

        1. Nolveys Silver badge

          Re: I'm going to suggest

          Except if the US Navy is about.

          A US destroyer rapidly approaches the poor, innocent autonomous boat as the Jaws music plays faster and faster. Just as the destroyer is about to hit it is t-boned by another US destroyer, causing a deafening sound of screeching metal and empty liquor bottles.

          1. Cederic Bronze badge

            Re: I'm going to suggest

            Isn't the US Navy dry? Or is that only their submarines?

            The US military management tier do seem to have an archaic and puritanical view of alcohol. May explain the endemic drug use depicted in pretty much every Vietnam war film.

            1. Chris Hance

              Re: I'm going to suggest (@Cederic)

              Pretty sure US Navy vessels still get wet. Sometimes in rather more places than the manufacturer recommends.

              Though from what I read here, the Royal Navy may soon have to resort to canoes. Probably with a BAE contract to supply them for roughly 60 million pounds each, plus maintenance. And paddles.

              1. Michael H.F. Wilkinson Silver badge

                Re: I'm going to suggest (@Cederic)

                and maps to shit creek? or are those only free without the paddle option?

              2. Alan Brown Silver badge

                Re: I'm going to suggest (@Cederic)

                Paddles weren't in the original contract specification. They're an extra and we'll have to charge accordingly.

              3. mosw

                Re: I'm going to suggest (@Cederic)

                Sorry, requires specialized paddles only available from US suppliers. If they need refinishing they will have to be sent to Turkey. Oh and the full complement needed won't be available until late 2022 (estimate only).

                1. jake Silver badge

                  Re: I'm going to suggest (@Cederic)

                  And during the meanwhile, the paddle-carrier is relegated to troop & supply transport, and an at-sea oiler.

      2. Steve Goodey
        WTF?

        Re: Challenge

        "The only wrinkle comes if/when that boat hits something else. Seems unlikely tho. The sea doesn't have a lot of damn fools and maniacs driving around on it like the land does, greatly simplifying the navigation task of the autopilot."

        Err...

        http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/england/kent/8648011.stm

  2. jake Silver badge

    Am I the only one ...

    ... who was slightly disappointed that the ship in question wasn't the Good Ship Adventure?

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Joke

      Re: Am I the only one ...

      I know this will come as a shock, but the universe is not a subset of the playmobilverse.

    2. PNGuinn
      Megaphone

      Re: Am I the only one ...

      Hopefully, yes.

      It should've been called something more traditional along the lines of "Pipey mcPipeface.

      Shirly?

  3. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Love the sub-headline!

  4. DNTP

    Just make sure the damn thing is grounded properly

    Otherwise, it'll get hit by lightning, start downloading music illegally, go rogue and precipitate political conflicts, ultimately learn the value of friendship, and finally sacrifice itself to save a boat pilot stranded in North Korea.

    And then, I assume either the owner's or the builder's insurance rates would go up after paying for a replacement.

    1. DNTP

      Re: Just make sure the damn thing is grounded properly

      BTW the movie I'm satirizing here is the stupidest movie featuring an AI that I ever remember seeing. I won't say the name here, but since it featured a drone plane, if they made a sequel about a robot boat, it might be called "Swell-th".

  5. John Smith 19 Gold badge
    Joke

    Vince Dobbin, "lots of..negotiation" with..Maritime & Coastguard Agency and the Ship Register,

    Where they close to saying "Nayyyyy" at several points by any chance?

    Sorry, couldn't pass up the chance.

  6. moonrakin

    Since 2007?

    not much

    I bet the clipboard wielding box tickers at MCA went into a tailspin... an awful lot of their boxes don't have a "Not Applicable" option.

    However if ASV Global think it was a little stressy with the Shipping Register and the MCA - they're in for a shock when the Egyptian Authorities demand a Suez Pilot Cabin stocked with whisky and porn videos.

    1. Remy Redert

      It's small enough that the pipe laying ship can just tow it or even hoist it on deck for passage through the Canal, if the authorities cause any kind of trouble.

      1. moonrakin

        I suspect you haven't had dealings with Egyptian bureaucracy?

        No doubt a large block of hashish + case of Johnny Walker will lead to trouble free operations bukrah, moomkin.

  7. Uffish

    Re: "but is fully capable of autonomous operation"

    I suppose these things cost many times more than a traditional floating gin palace but I really like the idea of a more than usually irresponsible boating holiday.

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