Friday, December 9, 2022

Oceanology International gathers huge industry momentum ahead of first live exhibition in four years

The organisers of Oceanology International (Oi), RX Global, have confirmed that the Oi 2022 event (ExCel London, March 15-17 2022) is perfectly positioned to capitalise on the opening up of business-to-business events in spring 2022. With bookings on par with the last pre-pandemic Oi in 2018, the eagerly anticipated event is set to put the uncertain times of the last two years behind us.

“Bringing the Oceanology International community together for the first time in four years gives me enormous satisfaction,” says Oi’s Event Director, David Ince. “While business has continued throughout the pandemic for many of the core ocean industries we represent, there’s now the expectation of getting back to the high-impact face-to-face interactions, networking and knowledge sharing that Oi is known for. We are such a technology- and solution-focused event, with more than 400 exhibitors showing off their innovation and know-how in a physical environment to a global audience of industry stakeholders all under one roof. And we are lucky to be located alongside the Royal Victoria Dock, allowing us to curate the largest programme of live on-water technology demonstrations that Oi has seen; certainly not something you can experience in full on a Zoom call!”

A ‘first’ for Oi this year, and near the top of the ‘must-see’ list for many visitors at Oi 2022, is Blue Essence, an offshore-certified USV (uncrewed surface vessel) from Dutch geodata specialist company Fugro. For Oi, Blue Essence will be carrying an electric remotely operated vehicle (eROV) and demonstrating the important and technologically demanding capability of autonomously launching and recovering the eROV with the vessel being controlled from Fugro’s remote operations centre (ROC) in Aberdeen.

Ivar de Josselin de Jong, Solution Director Remote Inspection at Fugro, said: “The Blue Essence is an exciting amalgamation of our latest remote and autonomy developments and is only the start of Fugro’s transition towards a Net Zero Fleet. With the build of the fifth Blue Essence (12m) and the recently ordered first Blue Eclipse (18m), Fugro is cementing its market-leading position in developing and operating a global USV fleet for seabed mapping and asset inspection in the offshore energy markets. I am excited that we now have this newest generation of USVs available for European clients and have the opportunity to show some of its capabilities at Oceanology international. Over the coming years, Fugro will further expand its fleet of USVs for safer, more sustainable solutions for marine operations.”

Fugro’s Blue Essence will be plying its autonomous way around the on-water demonstration area three times a day every day of the show, and the Fugro stand (D100) will be welcoming visitors too.

On the smaller end of the remote vehicle scale sits Blueye Robotics on stand D503. This Norwegian company is a first-time exhibitor at Oi, and is keen to make a big impression with its recently launched Blueye X3 ROV.

Under 50cm long, the tethered vehicle which will also feature in daily dockside demonstrations can be considered an ‘underwater drone’ but one that is up to the task of serious commercial usage, according to Oda Ryggen, Chief Commercial Officer: “The new Blueye X3 is a neat and handy vehicle with mighty capabilities. Four 350W thrusters power the vehicle at up to 3 knots underwater. The X3 has up to five hours’ range and is fitted with three guest ports supporting eight communication protocols. The ROV’s abilities can hence be extended with a wide range of external equipment including sensors, manipulators, grippers, DVLs, altimeters and sonars.”

With the launch of the commercially very capable X3, the company remains true to its original ethos, expressed by Ryggen: “We believe millions could be saved, accidents reduced, marine life improved and knowledge enhanced if underwater inspections were made more frequently. We believe in acting proactively versus reactively. Therefore, we want to empower people with user-friendly and robust underwater technology.

“We are delighted to be bringing the Blueye X3 along with our other products to Oceanology International. The capabilities of the X3 take us more squarely into the commercial inspection and ocean science markets, so well-served by this important industry event”.

Aidan Thorn, Sonardyne’s Business Development Manager for Marine Robotics, agrees that Oceanology international 2022 is set to mark a milestone for the marine technology sector: “After such a long period with few or no trade events the whole industry seems to be buzzing with the idea of conducting face-to-face business once again; long-established and well-attended industry events like Oi are simply the bread and butter of how we work.

“Oi will be our first chance for a long time for a proper get-together with the industry. As we’re now also in our 50th year in business, we’re especially looking forward to welcoming clients and industry contacts, past and present, on to our stand (F300) to help celebrate this incredible milestone.”

Aidan is a recent hire for Sonardyne (since August 2021), along with Mike Ellis, who joined to drive expansion into new renewables markets, and Michelle Barnett, who is supporting Sonardyne’s science development. All three, with the rest of the Sonardyne team, will be working the stands at Oi to make and cement key relationships in these growth areas.

On the subject of sector growth, even Aidan has been surprised by the exponential rate of progress of marine robotics: “’Exciting’ doesn’t feel like a strong enough word to describe what’s happening in our industry within marine robots.

“When I came into the industry, more than 20 years ago, as an apprentice at the National Oceanographic Centre, they had one autonomous underwater vehicle (AUV), the Autosub. When I walked around my first Oceanology International in the very early 2000s, there were a few unmanned underwater vehicles (UUVs) and not an uncrewed surface vessel (USV) in sight. Times have definitely changed and there are now even more platforms, underwater and on the surface, all supported by Sonardyne technologies.”

Sonardyne will be performing dockside demonstrations with a C-Cat 3 USV on loan from the University of Southampton from 12:30-13:00 and 2:30-3:00 every day of the show. Demonstrated technologies will range from the industry-leading SPRINT-Nav Mini hybrid navigator to the Mini-Ranger 2 USBL system, all working together in real-time to output commercially useful navigation and positioning data, including high elevation tracking.

Oi has established itself over the last half-century as the de facto meeting place for professionals from the marine science and ocean technology communities. For 2022, the event organisers predict a show of pre-pandemic proportions showcasing the latest ocean technologies and developments on the event floor, as well as on-water demos and vessels.

As part of the organisers’ work to make the venue Covid-secure, visitors must pre-register (free of charge) at


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