Hull cleaning and inspection are everyday elements of maintaining a vessel. With remotely operated vehicles (ROVs), shipowners can carry out these tasks efficiently and without excessive costs.
Rotterdam port’s EXCEL initiative, for startup businesses, has seen further developments in unmanned technology. One such company is AquaSmartXL, an aquatic drone provider used for surveying the port locations for general maintenance.
AquaSmartXL also has the potential to be used for ship maintenance inspections.
Dennis de Witte of Aqua Smart explains: “We do visual services above water. Our main advantage is that we can do inspections where other solutions are too expensive, too dangerous or simply not practical to use.”
The Regulatory Side
ECOsubsea, working with Wallenius Wilhelmsen Logistics (WWL), has focused on the regulatory side of hull cleaning. The IMO already has guidelines for the control and management of ships’ bio fouling that aim to minimize the transfer of invasive aquatic species.
According to Tor Østervold, ECOsubsea’s CEO, two main principles of the patented ECOsubsea system are:
A much higher collection of bio fouling from the operation than what has been possible before. Much kinder to the anti-fouling paint, with use of the soft-jets and soft-touch principle, which enhances the lifetime of anti-fouling paints.
Additionally, the equipment is more efficient than other machines available, with a maximum operation of 3000m2/hour at optimal conditions.
ECOsubsea will grow its ROV capacity in Southampton, U.K. Commenting on this, Østervold says: “It is a key port for the shipping segments we are working with. This means great opportunities for cooperation as we enhance the port’s environment, as has now been proven after two years in operation. We are also able to deliver much-wanted operational and environmental savings to shipowners.”