Trials are underway in Southampton as part of a pilot scheme to launch the eco-friendly HullWiper hull cleaning technology at the port.
HullWiper is working to test the system on a range of vessels including cruise liners, Ro-Ro ships, container ships and general cargo carriers at the south coast port.
Managing Director Simon Doran explained that the trials are to demonstrate the efficiency of the diver-and brush-free ROV to the harbour authority, Associated British Ports (ABP) in Southampton: “HullWiper provides an affordable, safe and eco-friendly alternative to traditional hull cleaning methods. Its addition to the portfolio of services available at the port will add further economical, practical and environmental advantages to Southampton.”
HullWiper uses adjustable seawater jets under variable pressure as the cleaning medium, instead of brushes or abrasives, to minimise 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 not discharged into the sea as with traditional methods. Instead, they are collected in a special onboard waste filter and disposed of in an ecologically-approved manner on land in compliance with local and regional environmental regulations. The collection filter also reduces the risk of cross-pollination of waters with alien species.
Captain Martin Phipps, Head of Marine Projects for ABP, welcomed the trial: “Hull cleaning initiatives provide the opportunity to remove biofouling and non-native species from the water column, whilst enhancing the efficiency of a vessel through the water, improving fuel economy and importantly reducing emissions and costs.”
Launched in Dubai in December 2013, HullWiper now operates in ports in Sweden, Singapore, Spain, Netherlands, Norway, Egypt, United Arab Emirates and – on an ad hoc basis – at key locations in the Middle East.