HullWiper | Vessel Hull Cleaning in Suez Canal Egypt

Vessel Hull Cleaning in Suez Canal Egypt

02 Feb 2021

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The history of the Suez Canal dates back to around 40 centuries ago when the idea of linking the Red Sea with the Mediterranean Sea emerged under the reign of the Pharaohs of Ancient Egypt. Records show that Egypt was the first country searching to activate world trade by digging a canal across its land, opening officially on 17 November 1869 after 10 years of building.

The waterway stretches 192km (119 miles) from Port Said on the Mediterranean Sea in Egypt to the city of Suez, linking the Mediterranean and Read Sea. By providing the shortest maritime route between Europe and the western Pacific and Indian oceans the canal reduces the voyage from Western Europe to the Arabian Gulf by 43% (8,900kms).

The flat terrain and minor sea level difference make the Suez Canal the longest canal without locks. The canal is also able to deepen and widen when required to accommodate the evolution in ship sizes and tonnages.

With an estimated 8% of the world’s maritime trade passing through annually, the canal plays a significant role in Egypt’s economic growth and is one of the most heavily used shipping lanes globally.

With over 60 vessels passing through the Suez Canal each day, the area represents a perfect market to benefit from HullWiper’s globally renowned, efficient, and environmentally friendly approach to hull cleaning. But first, what is hull cleaning?


To understand hull cleaning, one must understand biofouling first. Biofouling refers to the attachment of algae, microorganisms, small animals and plants on a submerged or damp surface such as a vessel hull, propeller, etc. The collection of these organisms on ship hulls give rise to several problems including:

  • A rise in fuel consumption

An increase in biofouling increases both the hydrodynamic friction and volume of a vessel, which can increase the drag. A larger drag means a slower ship, which could lead to a 40% increase in fuel consumption.

  • Longer periods of drydocking

A long-term buildup of biofouling may mean an anti-fouling coating replacement or hull repair is needed ultimately increasing the period of drydocking.

  • Damage to precious marine ecosystems

Also known as invasive aquatic species (IAS), biofouling can travel from one area to another threatening the food supply and existence of local fauna and flora. Spreading these harmful species threatens the world’s oceans and the conservation of marine biodiversity.

Hull cleaning refers to the process of removing the build-up of marine fouling on vessel hulls. Although the accumulation of biofouling can’t be avoided, hull cleaning can help to slow down the growth of nasty IAS and lighten your hull for optimum vessel performance.


While there may be various hull cleaning solutions, options and various methodologies available on the open market, not all are equal - think apples and oranges.

Traditional methods of hull cleaning include using divers with brushes or brush karts to clean the hull’s surface. These methods require the services of divers, are restricted to daylight hours, weather conditions and often require downtime for the cleaning. Brushes are abrasives and can remove up to 30% of the expensive anti-fouling coating and cause grooves that can promote regrowth of these organisms.

HullWiper’s innovative Remotely Operated Vehicle (ROV) not only cleans in most weather conditions but is fully operational 24/7 while the ship is alongside with cargo operations or undertaking bunker fuel operations.

Fully operational from ashore, the eco-friendly ROV uses adjustable seawater jets at a very high velocity to dislodge waste materials. This new-age approach to hull cleaning doesn’t create coating cavities, thereby reducing the risk of abrasion. The HullWiper device also cleans up to 5x faster than conventional methods, and does not put divers at risk diving. Re-growth of organic material is generally 2-3 times slower.

Additionally, HullWiper is the only ROV on the market that collects removed biofouling during a clean. Removed residues are captured in a unique waste unit connected to the ROV for approved ecological disposal on land, meaning waste is not discharged into the sea to ensure it meets environmental regulations. This feature also reduces the risk of cross-pollination of waters with alien species.


Owners and operators can see the bottom-line benefits of using HullWiper with our free online fuel savings calculator. The tool compares HullWiper against traditional hull cleaning methods factoring in vessel size, speed, voyage, fuel type, temperature and anti-fouling coatings used for a range of vessels.

Not to forget the hidden costs, the fuel savings calculator also takes into consideration the financial implications of using brushes or other abrasives, which can damage vessel hull coatings.


Since attending to its first crude oil tanker in 2017, HullWiper has been adding a valuable new service to a range of ship agency support provided by GAC in this key waterway.

GAC Egypt not only provides cost-effective hull cleaning through HullWiper but also offers an array of tailored solutions to help ease your Suez Canal transit. Their full deck of services includes:


• Bunker Fuels

• Canal & Straits Transit

• Dry Docking Support

• FSO/FPSO Support

• Husbandry Services

• Launch Services

• Protecting Agency

• Ship Agency


• Consolidation Services (LCL)

• Contract Logistics

• International Moving

• Land Transportation

• Project Logistics

• Rail Transport

• Ship Spares Logistics

• Supply Chain Management


• Offshore Support

• Oil Spill Response Services

• Rig Moving Operations

• Tug & Barge Operations


• Energy

Get in touch with the HullWiper team via [email protected] to book a hull clean or find out what we can do for your fleet. Alternatively, visit our website for more information.