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News & Events

Queens Harbour Master Notice to Mariners No 20 of 2022

Date:

1. NOTICE IS HEREBY GIVEN by the Queen's Harbour Master Portsmouth that Autonomous Surface Vessel (ASV) docking trials centred on the 93 metre support vessel SD NORTHERN RIVER will take place in the Solent and in areas to the south-east and south of the Isle of Wight in the period 18-28 January 2022.

2. The trials will involve an 8 metre autonomous Rigid Inflatable Boat, XLARS, launching and recovering from a cradle suspended over the starboard side of SD NORTHERN RIVER, and also conducting other underway trials. The trials will be conducted in several phases, with timings flexible dependent on progress. The first phase will be equipment onload and testing, alongside in Portsmouth Naval Base. This will be followed by 2-3 days of static trials in the Spithead Man of War Anchorage area, followed by a period of underway trials south of Isle of Wight.

3. ASV operations will be conducted in daylight only with a safety vessel VALKYRIE 6 in attendance throughout. For the static trials, SD NORTHERN RIVER will remain within the Spithead Man of War anchorage area, in the vicinity of anchorage number 7 (50 45.63N 001 07.10W). The ship will either be at anchor or static in Dynamic Positioning (DP) mode. The trials will consist of the XLARS craft making approaches to the cradle on the starboard side of SD NORTHERN RIVER. For these trials, XLARS will mainly be controlled remotely, but at times will be manned. In any event, the craft will obey the International Rules for Preventing Collisions at Sea (COLREGS) at all times, and controllers will maintain a 200-metre separation from non-participating craft. Trials will be immediately suspended if a vessel is determined to be closing within this distance. At times, XLARS will be operating away from the SD NORTHERN RIVER to conduct data and sensor trials. During these periods, the VALKYRIE 6 will be in close attendance.

SD NORTHERN RIVER

VALKYRIE 6

XLARS and cradle

4. Trials with SD NORTHERN RIVER underway will take place outside the Dockyard Port of Portsmouth, to the south of the Isle of Wight provided weather and sea state are suitable. Again, participants in the trials will obey the COLREGS throughout. Should weather conditions preclude trials in open water, an area in Sandown Bay has been designated as shown in the chartlet and defined by the following coordinates:

1. 50 38.251N 001 05.921W
2. 50 35.432N 001 07.759W
3. 50 36.063N 001 10.054W
4. 50 38.921N 001 08.328W

Poor weather trials area in Sandown Bay – Chart not to be used for navigation

5. SD NORTHERN RIVER and VALKYRIE 6 will be listening on VHF Ch 11, Ch 12 and 16 while in the Spithead anchorage or Sandown Bay. Channel 16 will be guarded when south of the Isle of Wight. SD NORTHERN RIVER should be contacted in the first instance if clarification of intentions is required. Where possible, trials vessels will maintain a minimum of 200-metres separation from other craft, and trials runs will be modified or aborted if a close-quarters situation is developing. QHM Portsmouth will be kept informed of the progress of trials in the Dockyard Port of Portsmouth and may be contacted for updates if necessary.

6. Mariners are advised to navigate with caution in the vicinity of the trials vessels, and where possible, requested to keep clear, particularly during the period of operation in the Spithead anchorages.

7. Cancel this LNTM on 31 January 2022.