The HullWiper Difference

16 Mar 2021
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Although many remotely operated vehicles (ROV) hull cleaning devices talk the talk, do they really walk the walk? We’re revealing the secret of what makes HullWiper’s hull cleaning technology different. But first, we’re diving into the history of public enemy #1.

THE COMMON ENEMY

No matter which method of underwater hull cleaning is used, biofouling remains the common enemy. Biofouling refers to the attachment of algae, plants, microorganisms and small marine creatures on structures submerged in water. Biofouling is a particular concern for the shipping industry as it can cause a multitude of problems for vessel fleets and marine life alike. These include: 

Economic Challenges 

Biofouling adds a considerable amount of drag to vessels, placing additional stress on the engine, reducing ship speed and increasing fuel consumption by up to 40%. Considering that fuel makes up almost 50% of operational expenses, this could push consumption to almost double. 

A heavy hull without a cleaning schedule is more likely to frequently dry dock for repairs, which can be costly.

Acid-producing bacteria transferred from attached microorganisms can also cause biological corrosion to vessel hulls.

Environmental Challenges

Not only is biofouling harmful to the pocket, but it also has detrimental and sometimes even irreversible effects on the marine eco-system. Also known as invasive aquatic species (IAS), biofouling organisms can “hitchhike” from one area to another. These non-indigenous organisms can become intrusive and start to compete with local marine life, battling for food, space and in severe cases, causing the extinction of local organisms.

Human Health Challenges

A change in aquatic life can jeopardise the livelihoods of those who depend on local marine species to bring in a source of income. Unknown parasites can also travel with exotic species, releasing harmful toxins that can contaminate the water.

The safety of humans is also put at risk when divers are used to remove biofouling from hulls and maintain boat bottoms. This traditional, outdated method of cleaning vessel hulls can cause hazards such as getting lost, hooking or entanglement of the diver under the vessel. 

Luckily, with the advances of technology, eco-friendly, affordable, brush- and diver-free hull cleaning is possible with HullWiper. HullWiper helps ship owners and operators avoid the biofouling blues with an array of benefits that no other diver or ROV can match. 

WHAT MAKES HULLWIPER DIFFERENT

Diver-free

As opposed to traditional modes of hull cleaning and various ROV’s that require diver assistance, the designated HullWiper operator conducts the hull cleaning from shore or onboard the vessel ensuring no danger to human life. 

Brush-free

While numerous hull cleaning ROV’s still use brush kart systems with bristles that scour marine biofouling off of vessel hulls, HullWiper takes a coating-protection approach. Using innovative adjustable seawater jets, the ground-breaking ROV ensures the right amount of pressure is applied to remove fouling without creating cavities in costly antifouling coatings. The device’s cleaning performance has been approved by several paint giants including:

Speedy cleaning 24/7

HullWiper cleans up to five times faster than conventional cleaning with brushes covering over 1,000 m2 per hour. Unlike most ROV’s, HullWiper’s award-winning technology and an umbilical cord allow the device to perform cleanings during the day and at night. HullWiper also operates in most weather conditions and can get to work while cargo or bunker fuel operations are underway, ensuring no delays to schedules.                                                        

Cost-effective

Re-growth of slime build-up and biofouling is generally two to three times slower with HullWiper cleaning as opposed to divers with brushes resulting in cleaner ships between dockings resulting in less cleaning.

FUEL SAVINGS

Fuel costs represent as much as 50% of total ship operating costs. The build-up of marine organisms on vessel hulls causes frictional drag as ships move through the water. The drag of biofouling can increase fuel consumption by up to 40%. Pro-active hull cleaning can result in big savings, and the HullWiper is the way to go.

Below are three examples of potential fuel savings over a two-year period of underwater hull cleaning:

• 50,000dwt diesel tanker: 1,900 tons = USD 484,500.00

• 50,000dwt steam tanker: 2,500 tons = USD 637,500.00

• 200,000dwt steam tanker: 3,200 tons = USD 816,000.00

See how much more efficient your fleet could be with HullWiper’s free Fuel Savings Calculator.

ENVIRONMENTAL COMMITMENT 

Above all else, HullWiper takes the environmentally friendly statement seriously. While other ROV’s claim to be green on account of their services reducing emissions, they don’t highlight the catastrophic impacts their cleaning has on marine biodiversity.

Rather than polluting local port water and risking the spread of invasive species (biofouling), HullWiper collects the removed marine fouling from vessel hulls. Captured residues are pumped through the ROV’s filter unit and only clean water is released back into the ocean. The collected waste is then deposited into dedicated drums onshore and is collected by an approved environmental waste disposal company. 

HullWiper’s wastewater filtering effectiveness has been verified by AMT Environmental, through an environmental analysis as well as by a consulting professional. 

Onboard solution: HullWiper offers an on-board solution for vessels, cruise ships and superyachts to add greater flexibility for cleaning-on-demand. Vessels on a tight schedule can perform partial or full clean on a planned rotation without the need to interrupt timetables or having to inconvenience passengers. Click here to learn more about our onboard solution and support.

Lease solution: Interested parties are now able to add innovative, eco-friendly underwater hull cleaning to their current customer service offerings with HullWiper. The HullWiper lease program allows companies around the world, in locations where HullWiper does not have an operational base, to lease the remotely operated vehicle (ROV). Read more about our lease program here.

Going the extra nautical-mile to save our marine life isn’t even a question. It’s the only answer. If you’re interested in saving time, costs and the marine environment, contact our team via enquiries@hullwiper.com or visit our website www.hullwiper.co for more.