Did you know that at any given moment, there is an average of over 1,000 vessels in Singapore port? Although not a producer of oil, it is surprisingly the top bunkering (ship refueling) port in the world. Since 1993, Singapore has been a member of the International Maritime Organisation (IMO) so it should come as no surprise that the port takes hull cleaning and environmentally safe methods very seriously.
In 2015, HullWiper’s eco-friendly, diver-free hull cleaning technology made its debut in the Asian market at the annual Sea Asia exhibition. Let’s look into what makes HullWiper unique to traditional hull cleaning methods.
THE HULLWIPER DIFFERENCE
The ROV ensures no divers are involved in the hull cleaning process, meaning there is no risk to human life.
The ROV uses high-pressure adjustable seawater jets to dislodge fouling on hulls, eliminating the need for abrasive scrubbing or harsh chemicals that scratch anti-fouling coating.
Research has shown that even a slight build-up of slime on a ship’s hull can trigger a speed loss of 0.5 knots. Almost 50% of the operational costs of a vessel is from fuel. The extra drag of biofouling reduces ship speed increasing fuel consumption of a commercial shipping fleet by up to 40%. Maintaining a clean ship hull helps to reduce frictional resistance which leads to better fuel performance and improves the cost-efficiency of the vessel.
As opposed to the traditional methods of hull cleaning that discard dislodged fouling straight into the ocean, the HullWiper ROV only releases clean water back into the ocean. All biofouling and debris are captured and pumped into an onboard filter unit which gets disposed of onshore, in an eco-friendly manner.
Hull cleaning can also have a large ecological impact on local marine life. Invasive Aquatic Species (IAS) which collect under vessels can be transported from one area to another as they attach to ship hulls. While their impact may seem almost invisible these IAS can start to compete with native fauna and flora. As their population increases over time, this alteration in biodiversity can translate to negative and irreversible changes in marine ecosystems around the world such as:
- Battling native species for food and space
- Altering environmental conditions and species habitat
- Preying on native species
- Reducing local biodiversity, displacing and potentially causing extinctions of local organisms
- Changing the food web
Despite its compact size HullWiper’s ROV can clean up to 2,000 m² of hull per hour using adjustable pressure seawater jets to remove marine fouling. The device cleans almost five times faster than traditional cleaning methods with divers, and hence, reduces cleaning time by approximately half.
Hull cleaning can be conducted day or night, in most weather conditions, and whilst cargo or bunker fuel operations are underway.
HullWiper also offers an onboard solution to shipowners and operators that can lease the ROV to keep on their vessel for on-demand, rotational cleaning. Newbuilds can include the ROV in the design of the vessel to avoid interruption or to perform partial or full hull cleans.
HullWiper’s ability to clean without harm to ship’s coating has been confirmed by leading international ship painting companies including:
- International Paint (a brand of AkzoNobel’s Marine & Protective Coatings )
- Sigma Coatings (a brand of PPG Protective & Marine Coatings)
- The Jotun Group
- Chugoku Marine Paints
- SeaCoat Technology
HULLWIPER’S HULL CLEANING SERVICES AVAILABLE IN SINGAPORE
Our base in Singapore caters to all Singapore water locations, both at anchor and alongside where we can operate 24/7.
No hull cleaning may be performed at the Bunkering Anchorages (East/West), only hull inspection. Cleaning can be conducted alongside vessel during cargo operations at container terminals except when a bunker barge is alongside. We cannot operate at Oil and Gas Terminals. HullWiper can carry out hull inspection, vertical side cleaning and flat bottom cleaning subject to the above restrictions.