A merger between Vriezoo ROV Services and Mark Offshore have formed new company FreeStar Subsea Services, Netherlands. The collaboration offers a combination of ROV and survey support services with FreeStar’s recently acquired and outfitted vessel, the SSV Navicula Star. While most mid-sized subsea companies specialize in either vessel or ROV services, FreeStar’s owners believe that this combination will give the new offshore service provider a competitive edge, the company noted in a statement.

Founders Mark van der Star and Willem de Vries, developed this concept over the course of several years before having the opportunity to actively and commercially join forces and acquire their first vessel Navicula Star from the Royal Netherlands Institute for Sea Research (NIOZ). 

“With the purchase of this vessel, our journey began”, said van der Star. “The SSV Navicula Star is equipped with an onboard ROV to quickly respond and save costs at the start of a project. The vessel can accommodate 11 people and is equipped with a crane, two davits and an A-frame with several winches, for deploying and/or recovering a variety of loads into or out from the water. The ROV control and survey desk are situated inside at deck level for quick response to the work deck. With a draft of only 1 meter (3.3'), it is also capable of beaching. In our view, this makes the Navicula Star the ultimate shallow water vessel.”

FreeStar aims to offer a suite of subsea services, including bathymetric and geotechnical surveys, cable protection, and burial operations. “With our fleet of five offshore and four inshore ROV systems and the Navicula Star, we can provide our clients with complete service offerings.... Safety is our top priority, and our procedures are ISO certified and comply with voluntary ISM standards,” de Vries said. 

Acquiring a new vessel requires time to fully understand its systems. Therefore, FreeStar Subsea Services engaged TechBinder with its Smart Vessel Optimizer (SVO) to connect all electrical systems and optimize power management. The company noted Techbinder’s AI capabilities are instrumental in understanding a vessel's power dynamics and make data-driven decisions. With the help of the SVO technology, the Navicula Star will be the first 44-year-old vessel to become a truly 'Smart Ship,’ a statement from Freestar stated.

In terms of ROV and survey services, FreeStar has opted to collaborate with Periplus and its GR:Dit system to map all collected data, web-based, and make it accessible for its  customers. GR:Dit is an interactive map enabling users to store and analyse all kinds of spatial geodata. The system provides clients with direct access to the data while the survey and ROV mission are still ongoing.