Coatings manufacturer Hempel has launched an underwater Hull Inspection service using Remote Operated Vehicles (ROVs). The ROVs can provide complete hull coating inspections 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. Under Hempel’s Hull Inspection Service, inspections are conducted by a 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.

‘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 per cent over 5 years,’ explains Christian Ottosen, Group VP, Head of Marine Business. ‘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 optimises vessel performance.’

Advanced hull maintenance plans

‘The ability to utilise 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 VP, Head of Services.

He adds: ‘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 optimise hull performance. 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. As 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 2 hours or less even alongside cargo loading or discharge.