A cruise ship has been remotely piloted through a key shipping passage using escort tugs to prevent the spread of coronavirus
Italian cruise ship Costa Diadema was remotely manoeuvred through the Suez Canal by a team of pilots on escort tugs in late March.
This ship was sailing from the United Arab Emirates to Italy with special measures applied as there had been 65 cases of Covid-19 on board. These infections led the authority to pilot the ship through the canal in Egypt remotely.
The Suez Canal Authority (SCA) said a pilotage team boarded two escorting tugs on 23 March. In full co-ordination with the transit control offices and navigation monitoring stations, four pilots on the tugs manoeuvred Costa Diadema northbound through the canal.
In this way, SCA could follow Egypt’s Ministry of Health requirements and quarantine rules according to the directives of the World Health Organization. Prior to these manoeuvres, SCA trained its pilots to use advanced technology for marine navigation and remote pilotage.
Four senior pilots guided Costa Diadema on two escorting tugs, one in the front and one astern of the ship. They were assisted by radar guidance and information from transit control offices and navigation monitoring stations along the seaway.
SCA took other humanitarian actions by transiting Costa Diadema without keeping it waiting in the anchorage area to allow the cruise ship to arrive sooner at its Italian destination, ensuring infected cases could get faster medical treatment.
This remote pilotage application comes as Finnpilot Pilotage intends to test autonomous pilotage technology.
This is the first project of DIMECC’s newly introduced Sea for Value programme to provide blueprints for digitalisation and advanced autonomous operations and navigation.