‘Machine Odyssey’ Complete as Autonomous Tug Reaches Hamburg after 1000+nm Journey

October 27, 2021 Maritime Safety News

The autonomous tug Nellie Bly has completed what is claimed to be the world’s first 1,000+ nautical miles autonomous and remotely commanded journey of a commercial vessel at sea.

The journey around Denmark, aptly named the Machine Odyssey, officially started September 30, when the Nellie Bly departed Cuxhaven, Germany, (near Hamburg) for Denmark.

The news of the successful journey completion was shared Thursday, by Sea Machines Robotics, a Boston-based developer of autonomous command and control systems for the maritime industry which equipped the tug with autonomous systems.

The Nellie Bly completed its journey around Denmark in 29 operational hours over 13 days, and has docked in Hamburg after 1025.6 nm.

The program was commanded by U.S. Coast Guard-licensed mariners remotely stationed 3,000 miles away in Boston, many of whom are also members of the American Maritime Officers union.

“The completion of this voyage marks the catalyst for a new era of at-sea operations,” said Michael Johnson, CEO of Sea Machines. “Over the last two millennia, it’s estimated that around one-hundred million vessels have transited these same Danish waters. Though vessels, cargos, nations and destinations have changed, the way these great ships are commanded has remained virtually constant, with humans onboard making navigational decisions, undertaking manual control actuation, and communicating person to person. Only now are we revealing a new method of operation.