Thursday, April 2, 2020

Gas Carriers Provide a New Market for Hull Cleaning Technology

Water Jet System Accepted as Suitable by Another State
Shipping News Feature

QATAR – We have been tracking the progress of the partnership between HullWiper, which uses remotely operated underwater vehicles (ROVs) to clean the hulls of a range of ships, and international shipping group GAC, since 2014 and now the pair have again entered new territory.

It seems that one of the fastest growing classes of merchant vessels is particularly well suited to using the HullWiper technology as the first underwater clean using the patented system saw 6112 m2 of the vertical sides of an LNG tanker cleaned in twelve hours. Simon Doran, HullWiper Managing Director, explains:

“LNG vessels in particular benefit from HullWiper, as its non-aggressive cleaning method does not damage their premier coatings. That is why Qatar, the world’s leading provider of LNG, has always been on our radar. With LNG growth increasing in the country, the time is right to offer bespoke local support to the LNG vessels operating out of, and calling at, the country’s ports.”

GAC Qatar is the only company to be granted a licence by the country’s Environment Ministry to operate hull cleaning equipment in its waters as HullWiper’s ROV complies with the stringent regulations to ensure safe and eco-friendly removal of marine bio-fouling.

The HullWiper system uses adjusted pressure salt-water jets, instead of brushes or abrasives, to remove and collect bio-fouling with no damage to expensive anti-fouling coatings. No divers are used, so there is no risk to human life and cleaning can be conducted day or night, in most weather conditions, and whilst cargo operations are underway.

Removed residues are collected by the ROV’s unique onboard filter and deposited into dedicated drums onshore for safe disposal at the Qatar Petroleum (QP) facility after a QP test. HullWiper’s filter also reduces the risk of cross-pollination of waters with invasive species.

Since 2017 HullWiper has been working with partners around the world with its global leasing programme to offer ship owners and operators a cost-efficient, brush- and diver-free alternative to traditional hull cleaning methods that protects anti-fouling coating on vessel hulls and the oceans.

Ship owners and operators benefit from a clean hull that improves vessel performance, fuel savings and lower CO2 emissions, without any extra downtime or harming the delicate marine ecosystem. Daniel Nordberg, GAC Qatar General Manager, comments:

“Our decision to invest in providing a safe, eco-friendly and proven hull cleaning solution at Qatar ports and anchorages is in line with our strategy to expand the maritime services we offer. We appreciate the support from MOTC, Ministry of Environment and Qatar Petroleum for granting us the licence to provide hull cleaning services in Ras Laffan.”