A trial of eco-friendly hull cleaning technology is underway at the Port of Southampton to help ship owners maintain efficiency, minimise emissions and responsibly dispose of the waste matter.
Remotely Operated Vehicle (ROV) HullWiper uses adjustable seawater jets to remove fouling from ships’ hulls for optimal performance and energy efficiency saving. It collects removed residues and harmful materials in a special onboard waste filter. Waste is then disposed of in an ecologically-approved manner on land in compliance with local and regional environmental regulations. The filter also reduces the risk of cross-pollination of waters with alien species.
Captain Martin Phipps, head of marine projects for ABP, said: “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.”
As the ROV doesn’t use brushes, the risk of damage to expensive anti-fouling coatings and need for recoating is minimised. 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. 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 – in the Middle East.
The trial includes testing on vessels including cruise liners, Ro-Ro ships, container ships and general cargo carriers.