New Underwater Hull Inspection System by Remote Operated Vehicles

Image courtesy of Hempel.

Global coatings manufacturer Hempel (Lyngby, Denmark) recently introduced an underwater hull inspection service using remote operated vehicles (ROVs), aimed at providing a complete hull coating inspection while a vessel is at port or anchorage.

The service is being rolled out at key ports across the Asia-Pacific region and will be extended to key maritime hubs worldwide in the near future, according to the company. As of now, the hull inspection service is available at select ports in China and Korea, with further information available by contacting local Hempel representatives.

With the service, inspections are conducted by an expert coatings advisor operating an ROV, which is navigated around the vessel’s hull using remote-controlled thrusters. The ROV captures high-resolution video footage and still images of the hull for assessment in real-time.

“The ability to utilize remote hull inspections through the deployment of highly sophisticated and purpose-built ROVs is a significant step-change in the ability to create advanced hull maintenance plans,” says Klaus Moeller, group vice president and head of services.

“The inspection is conducted by highly trained ROV experts, who combine their unique expertise with information on the vessel’s trading activity to compile the final report—which includes recommendations to optimize hull performance,” Moeller adds. “This provides operators with tangible, accurate, and consistent evidence upon which to base their operational decisions, while also providing proof of hull condition for relevant industry authorities.”

According to Hempel, using ROVs for hull inspections simplifies the process and allows for more frequent and less costly hull inspections. Since no divers are required, inspections can be conducted without the need to shut down vessel systems. This makes it possible to complete hull inspections in two hours or less, even alongside cargo loading or discharge, according to the manufacturer.

“All prudent owners and operators are moving toward evidence-based performance monitoring across all their systems and assets and are utilizing a growing range of tools and applications that enable them to understand all of the influencing factors, which have the potential to impact vessel performance,” says Christian Ottosen, group vice president and head of marine business.

“Hull fouling is a significant contributor to speed loss and at its worst, has the potential to increase engine power requirements by close to 20% over five years,” Ottosen adds. “Being able to routinely and consistently monitor hull condition between routine dry-dockings with ROVs enables shipowners and operators to implement an appropriate maintenance schedule, which optimizes vessel performance.”

ROV inspections in combination with Hempel’s System for Hull and Propeller Efficiency (SHAPE), can improve hull performance by aligning underwater visuals with existing data collection system, according to the company.

Source: Hempel,