15 Mar 2020
New hull cleaning services are offering ship owners more choice when it comes to increasing hydrodynamic performance and protecting the environment.
Winners of the environment category at last year’s DCN Australian Shipping & Maritime Industry
Awards, HullWiper is making an impact in Australia with its unique remotely operated vehicle that cleans the hulls of vessels.
The company’s mission is to provide an efficient and safe cleaning service with minimal impact on
the marine environment. It uses innovative ROV technology to replace traditional diver and brush
methodology to mitigate the risk to the ecosystem, hull coatings and human life.
HullWiper collects marine fouling removed from hulls, rather than polluting local port water and risking the spread of harmful invasive species. Captured residues are pumped into a filter unit and then deposited into dedicated drums onshore, which are collected by a locally-approved environmental waste disposal company.
HullWiper’s managing director Simon Doran tells Daily Cargo News, “As more and more countries, led by New Zealand, have introduced ever more stringent hull cleaning restrictions and regulations, Australia became the obvious choice for last call options going to New Zealand and to protect Australian waterways”.
HullWiper sprays adjustable high-pressure seawater jets directly onto a ship’s hull at a very high velocity to dislodge waste materials, without using scrubbing, harsh chemicals or abrasive materials required for traditional methods.
Fuel cost savings can be in the order of US$1m per year for cruise ships, with the associated reduction in carbon emissions. And, deterioration of hull and propeller performance between dry-docking accounts for approximately US$20-30bn in costs.
The company is constantly looking at further innovations for its ROV platform. “We are also looking at potential DFT Gauge applications and other supporting technology to enhance the services we offer,” Mr Doran says.
The strategic focus of HullWiper this year will be around increasing market awareness that there is
a safe and environmentally-friendly hull cleaning option available. “The time for inexpensive services with inflated prices is over as a hull cleaning standard will come into play,” Mr Doran says.
“The demand for fuel efficiency has always been with us - after all, it is a vessel’s single largest operating expense. “But the low sulphur fuel restrictions implemented this year and the rising fuel price is really focusing peoples’ minds on what this issue, and what can be done about it,”he says.
Any form of hull cleaning will achieve initial savings, regardless of the method used. However,
when using water as the cleaning medium, the periods between cleaning are extended creating further savings. It is also less abrasive, so the in-service lifetime of the hull coating can also be extended.
“The fact that HullWiper’s ROV has no restrictions, can operate 24/7 and in most weather conditions is a huge positive when vessels have a tight timeline to keep,” Mr Doran says.
HullWiper is currently working in major ports around the world. Its Australian operations are based in Brisbane, with hull cleaning services offered at Bundaberg, Gladstone and Townsville.
Hull cleans are performed alongside and at inner/ outer anchorage with no restrictions, although the latter is weather dependent.
Source: DCN / Green Shipping March 2020