Cleaning Hulls by ROV

The Port of Rotterdam has not allowed traditional hull cleaning for more than two decades, but that isn’t a problem for HullWiper, a remote-controlled eco-friendly hull cleaning machine that serves ships calling in Rotterdam.

“We don’t put any divers at risk. HullWiper’s Remotely Operated Vehicle (ROV) uses high water pressure to clean the hull and the fouling is collected through a special waste filter on the ROV. There is no risk of pollution to the water and the waste is disposed of through local environmental guidelines on shore after the clean is completed,” commented Laurance Langdon, general manager.

The units are generally operated from a supply vessel or barge, with a three-person team overseeing the cleaning.

The HullWiper can work around the clock, advised Langdon, who added they have cleaned a few cruise ship hulls.

“It can operate discreetly. It attaches to the hull using thrusters on the ROV, makes no noise and does the job,” he said.

Calling it a first-mover-type technology, Langdon said a hull can be cleaned in 12 to 24 hours. The company has multiple units available globally, operated in-house and through licensing agreements.

The HullWiper service is currently available at a number of key locations including not only Rotterdam, but Singapore and Scandinavia among others, with more locations set to follow.

Among bigger plans are to install the units on cruise ships on a permanent basis. Langdon said talks with a few major cruise operators were ongoing.

“We would train their team to operate it and provide full technical support,” he said. “When you have a clean hull you are saving fuel, and that is one of the biggest expenses.”

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