HullWiper ROV handy in cleaning biofouling

4 Nov 2020
news

Source: OGN (Oil & Gas News)

Environmentally-sound principles for operations at ports around the world is a hot topic in the shipping community and media. More and more maritime regulatory bodies and local port authorities are implementing new, stricter regulations. The exchange of ideas for new green technology and viable eco-friendly solutions is fast becoming the norm in shipping circles.

“The responsibility to support and sustain these initiatives extends to the greater maritime community, including in-port service providers, ship owners and operators. And the sooner we all get on board and get compliant, the sooner we will see the much-needed change of course in conserving the delicate eco-balance of our oceans,” Simon Doran, MD HullWiper tells OGN.

Port authorities in Abu Dhabi and elsewhere in the UAE are implementing strategies to support the vision for sustainable operations. One of those strategies focuses on controlling cross-contamination of their waters by invasive aquatic species (IAS) carried in biofouling on ships’ hulls. Biofouling is one of the top concerns for the shipping industry. Cross-pollination occurs when foreign marine microorganisms, plants, algae or small marine animals are carried on vessel hulls from one location to another, and released into waters that are not their natural habitat.

Anti-fouling coating on vessel hulls is designed to prevent biofouling. But anti-fouling alone is not enough. Biofouling is a natural occurrence for oceangoing vessels, and hulls need to be regularly cleaned and maintained. The problem is that it is often hull cleaning operations that release invasive species into foreign waters. So, what can ship owners and operators do to mitigate the damage?

Keeping hulls clean and keeping a maintenance log goes a long way in ensuring compliance. But using eco-friendly hull cleaning methods approved by local port authorities in Abu Dhabi and the UAE goes much further. Such a green solution is what HullWiper delivers with its remotely operated vehicle (ROV).

CHANGING THE BIOFOULING COURSE

HullWiper’s ROV is a cost-efficient, brush- and diver-free alternative to traditional hull cleaning methods that protect both the ocean and expensive anti-fouling vessel hull coatings.

The system uses adjustable seawater jets as the cleaning medium, instead of brushes or abrasives, to minimise the risk of damage to coatings. Removing fouling from vessels’ hulls results in optimal performance, energy efficiency and reduced CO2 emissions, and avoids the expense of recoating in case of damage. No divers are used, so there is no risk to human life and cleaning can be conducted day or night, in most weather conditions, and whilst cargo or bunker fuel operations are underway.

Unlike traditional methods, HullWiper does not discharge removed residues and harmful materials into the sea. Instead, it collects them with a unique onboard filter for safe disposal onshore, thereby reducing the risk of cross-pollination of waters with alien species.

Regular, proactive cleaning prevents hull fouling, provides maximum fuel efficiency and enhances performance at all times. Cleaning with HullWiper’s ROV results in shorter times in dry docks and helps avoid expensive repairs. A proper preventative maintenance plan has a positive impact on ship owners’ and operators’ bottom-line by saving on fuel thanks to a lighter hull, as well as lower insurance premiums and entry to ports which demand documented evidence of a proper hull cleaning maintenance programme.