HullWiper | Carbon neutral shipping still needs vessel hull cleaning

Carbon neutral shipping still needs vessel hull cleaning

27 Apr 2021

27 Apr21 Carbon neutral shipping still needs vessel hull cleaning Photo

In support of the United Nations Sustainable Development Agenda, the International Maritime Organization’s (IMO) strategy on greenhouse gases (GHGs) aims to reduce carbon emissions in the shipping industry by 40% by the year 2030. This initiative challenges system integrators, shipping companies, and ship owners to find, develop and integrate new and more energy-efficient solutions to meet these targets. The mission is led by the growing need for companies to mitigate the repercussions their business operations might have on the planet and to work together to try to reverse climate change in its tracks.

Issues including increased fuel consumption and the release of greenhouse gases have pushed the maritime industry to seek to do better and improve their voyage methods overall.

With a 2030 goal set in mind, some powerhouse shipping organisations are fast-tracking their commitment and setting their eyes towards an even more ambitious target of decarbonising marine operations by launching the world’s first carbon neutral liner vessel by 2023. This will be the start of a new shipping revolution that puts the planet and its people at the center, seven years ahead of the initial IMO GHG’s commitment.

One of the biggest drivers of change is the growing consumer demand for sustainable supply chain management. Customers are increasingly questioning the environmental price tag of their purchases.


Carbon neutrality means that a person or operations of a business emits the same amount of carbon dioxide into the atmosphere that they offset by funding an equivalent amount of carbon savings elsewhere in the world. This could be done through various initiatives such as switching to solar panels, planting trees, etc.

Although carbon neutrality will be taking leading strides in the industry, one thing still remains. Fleets will still have to undergo planned shipping maintenance in the form of hull cleaning, in order for vessels to remain truly carbon neutral. A dirty hull caused by biofouling can be a costly mistake that can increase fuel consumption by up to 40%!


Biofouling refers to the accumulation of microorganisms, plants, small creatures and algae that attach themselves onto submerged surfaces. In shipping, particularly targeted areas are rudders, propellers and vessel hulls. Biofouling cannot be avoided as it begins to accumulate on the submerged portion of a vessel within minutes of making contact with the water.

This additional drag on the vessel creates a large increase in fuel consumption and total GHGs emitted. From diver and brush kart to remotely operated vehicle (ROV) technology, there are countless hull fouling cleaning solutions that exist but not all hull cleaning solutions are made equal. Some solutions often have negative impacts on the ocean and marine ecosystem, another environmental hazard.

Thankfully, modern technology has brought about with it green hull fouling solutions that allow ships to clean their hulls without risking precious ocean life.

First launched in Dubai in 2013, HullWiper is a safe and eco-friendly ROV that collects removed fouling from hulls rather than polluting port water and spreading the risk of harmful invasive species. Unique to HullWiper, the ROV’s attached filter unit captures removed residue that is then deposited into allocated drums onshore for safe disposal in a locally approved, environmentally-friendly way.

Unmatched green hull cleaning isn’t the only benefit of the HullWiper ROV. Here’s a quick look at this hull cleaning solutions capabilities:

1. Operational 24/7

With no diver involvement, hull cleaning can be performed day or night, in most weather conditions.

Cleaning can also be performed while taking on bunker fuels or whilst loading/discharging cargo operations are underway meaning no delay to schedules.

2. No damage to hull antifouling coating

The ROV uses adjustable high-pressure seawater jets at a high velocity to dislodge waste materials without creating grooves in the coating.

Variable and speed of the cleaning is adjusted according to the severity of biofouling and the coating condition.

3. Uses seawater as a medium for hull cleaning

Unlike traditional hull cleaning methods, HullWiper cleans without using harsh chemicals, abrasive materials or scrubbing.

4. Efficiency

HullWiper cleans 96 – 97% of submerged areas faster than traditional cleaning methods while cleaning impact lasts 2 - 3 times longer.

For more information contact the HullWiper team via [email protected] and find out what we can do for your fleet. Visit our website here:

With operations bases in Dubai including key locations across the Sweden, Middle East, Norway, Denmark, Gibraltar, Singapore, Egypt, Australia, Panama, Namibia, Sri Lanka, Korea and Mauritius, ship owners, and operators can proactively manage the effects of hull fouling on vessel hulls and reduce costs. New locations for South Africa, Chile, and the Bahamas are soon to be rolling out worldwide.