Autonomous Vessel; Mayflower Diverts Again Due to Mechanical Failure.

The Mayflower Autonomous vessel (MAYFLOWER 400) has experienced a mechanical failure for the second time in its journey to cross the Atlantic. ProMare, the maritime research organization involved in building the vessel and conducting its reports, has stated that the vessel would be diverted to Halifax, Nova Scotia, to identify and fix the issue causing the mechanical failure. The ship reached Halifax, Nova Scotia, on June 5.

The team behind the project has confirmed that the problem developed around May 28-29 in the charging circuit for the batteries used to start up the generators. On May 30, the team switched to the backup navigation PC and diverted it to Nova Scotia. However, it is to be noted that the team deliberately continues to stress the systems in the vessel to test their limits as the MAS 400 project is considered an experiment. And as such, they are learning a tremendous amount about designing, constructing, and operating autonomous vessels even though they face multiple failures.

This is the second mechanical issue faced by the vessel in its journey. The first issue occurred on May 6, about a week and a half after the start of the journey from Plymouth, England. ProMare reported that the isolation switch related to the generator had failed. And hence the vessel was diverted to Horta in the Azores, where the problem was identified and fixed. MAS 400 then retained till the inclement weather subsided and after which the journey resumed. Earlier, the vessel's voyage was scrapped entirely due to an issue with the propellers 3 days into the journey.

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