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Transfer cart for on-board submarines – 20 t

OceanX is a company based in the United States founded by Ray Dalio and his son, Mark Dalio. Their mission is to explore the deep ocean, inform, inspire, protect the seas and bring marine and ocean life to the eyes of the world through captivating storytelling.

The OceanXplorer ship carries 4 different underwater vessels and will sail the world’s seas, exploring oceans up to a depth of 6,000 m.

OceanXplorer is the most advanced exploration, research and communication vessel ever built. It was built in Norway by the Damen company. The challenged proposed to Morello was to provide a special type of heavy-duty transfer cart able to safely handle, with as few risks as possible, highly sophisticated submarines both on the deck and in the hold of a ship.

The project was challenging but also stimulating, given the importance and reach of the OceanXplorer mission. The project is described in more detail below.


OceanXplorer transoceanic vessel developed by a US company, but endowed with a mission to sail all the oceans throughout the world.

Morello’s direct client is the Norwegian shipbuilding company, Damen, and the end client is OceanXplorer. For this project, we also worked with the submarine operator.



ObjectTwo on-board submarines which, despite being small, were very large with respect to the size of the ship


Work areaDangerous on-board operations, where the roll and pitch of the relatively small ship could be quite extreme in rough seas
SpaceThe ship is a relatively small vessel with very tight spaces for handling the submarines
Weather conditionsMorello’s heavy-duty motorized cart needs to operate on a transoceanic vessel in all types of weather conditions
Air QualitySea air, saline environment with aggressive weather conditions
Floor conditionsThe surface of the vessel is not built to withstand excessively heavy loads, therefore, the distribution of weight, which is complicated by the pitch and roll of the ship, must be stable and dynamically balanced. The floor is often wet, which made it necessary to control the risk of slipping during rolling and pitching
Location and serviceThe middle of the ocean is not the ideal place to have a mechanical failure! The Morello heavy-duty transfer cart needed to guarantee exceptional reliability. Breakdowns will be difficult to repair since Morello technicians cannot be available 24/7 in the middle of the ocean


VehicleOceanXplorer needed two heavy-duty motorized carts on-board the ship to handle its exploration submarines. The carts are OMNI heavy-duty battery-powered motorized carts, equipped with electric motors that ensure zero-impact operations. Only electric components with suitable IP certification were used, opting for stainless steel materials where possible and the application of a C5-M certified marine coating. The carts were built to transport submarines and other equipment weighing up to 20 tons
SteeringTo move around in the tight spaces of the OceanXplorer, the OMNI heavy-duty motorized carts were designed to offer maximum driving flexibility. Thanks to the multidirectional drive feature, the carts have front and rear, 90° and diagonal steering, and can even rotate on their own axis.
MobilityTo manage the effect of ground pressure and avoid overloading in each single point, dynamic acceleration calculations were made to ensure even distribution in all possible sea conditions on a transoceanic vessel. To ensure optimal grip and adherence to the surface, all 12 wheels were individually motorized and the hydraulic suspensions ensure that all 12 wheels constantly adhere to the ground. Specific calculations were made to measure the level of friction between the vessel floor materials and the cart wheels in both dry and wet conditions
MotorsBrushless AC motors, no maintenance, no pollution
Operational controlThe vehicle is guided using a radio control with potentiometer. The operating software is proprietary-owned by Morello, used worldwide and developed and perfected over the years
Technical supportWhere possible, maintenance-free components were used
Potential failure risks were identified and reduced to a minimum
Emergency response procedures were identified in case of need
Spare parts were provided to ensure 100% efficiency
Vehicle diagnostics available via the high-tech human-machine interface
Remote assistance with on-board monitoring software
Project ManagementMorello project teams have many years of experience in providing technical solutions for stimulating projects such as the OceanXplorer. This project was particularly challenging considering the hostile conditions of the oceans where the exploration vessel would need to navigate