24 Jan 2019
Vessel hull cleaning specialist HullWiper Ltd has contractual links with Maersk and other major operators, but some in the maritime industry remain resistant, sceptical or unaware of its revolutionary system. “Our hull cleaning technology is a game changer when it comes to anti-fouling issues, but we are still educating many of its advantages,” cited Managing Director, Simon Doran.
HullWiper is a diver-free, eco-friendly alternative to traditional hull cleaning methods. It removes divers and their equipment from the equation, eliminating the risk to human life.
“I am an evolutionary environmental revolutionary,” declared former diver and Managing Director of HullWiper, Simon Doran. “HullWiper gives me the opportunity to help give back to the environment, save divers’ lives and provide the shipping sector with a safer alternative for hull cleaning.”
HullWiper’s Remotely Operated Vehicle (ROV), launched in Dubai in late 2013 and now available at several locations worldwide, enables vessels’ hull subsurfaces to be discretely, efficiently and remotely cleaned without disruption. It uses adjustable pressure seawater jets as the cleaning medium, instead of brushes or abrasives, thus minimising the risk of damage to expensive anti-fouling coatings.
By using the ROV to remove fouling from their vessels’ hulls, ship owners benefit from optimal performance and energy efficiency savings, whilst avoiding the expense of recoating in case of damage. As no divers are used, there is no risk to human life and cleaning can be conducted day or night, in most weather conditions, whilst cargo operations are underway.
Removed residues and harmful materials are not discharged into the sea as with traditional methods. Instead, they are collected in an onboard waste filter and disposed of in an ecologically-approved manner on land and in compliance with local and regional environmental
regulations. The system also reduces the risk of cross-pollination of waters by alien species, prolongs the life of anti-fouling coatings and reduces downtime maintenance costs.
Greater geographical reach
After more than seven years of operations, the company has gone from strength to strength while having changed its business model along the way.
“When we began operations, we were consistently approached about selling or renting out our machines. That’s how we knew we had a winning product that would have global reach,” Mr Doran explained. “However, we were initially reticent for a number of reasons including operational safety and intellectual property concerns. As HullWiper became more established, we began leasing the equipment out and enjoyed tremendous success through selected partnerships.”
Now in its fourth generation ROV, and with 800 hull cleans under the company’s belt, Mr Doran believes HullWiper is the envy of the hull cleaning sector. “Not only do we have agreements with major players like Maersk and Statoil, we also have a truly global footprint.”
HullWiper now operates in ports in Sweden, Singapore, Spain, Denmark, Norway, Egypt, Australia, Gibraltar, the UAE East. There are also start-up plans in the pipeline for Panama, Mauritius and Durban. Meanwhile, trials are underway in Southampton on the UK south coast as part of a pilot scheme to launch at the port. HullWiper is testing the diver- and brush-free ROV on a range of vessels including cruise liners, Ro-Ro ships, container ships and general cargo carriers to demonstrate its efficiency to the harbour authority, Associated British Ports.
In 2018, HullWiper established its presence down-under at Townsville, the largest multi-cargo port north of Brisbane, a bulk export transport hub, and a popular stop for cruise vessels.
Australia is a leader in efforts to use technology to protect the environment. HullWiper complies with the country’s strict biofouling management standards to counter the spread of invasive
marine species, whilst providing vessel and cruise ship owners and operators with an eco-friendly solution to their hull cleaning needs.
Source: Inside Marine Magazine (profile by Andy Probert)