GAC EnvironHull, part of global shipping, logistics and marine services provider GAC Group, has launched HullWiper, its new offering diver-free, cost effective and eco-friendly underwater hull cleaning.
Despite its compact size of 3 x 1.5 x 0.80 m, the high-speed, remotely-operated vessel cleaning vehicle is capable of cleaning up to 2,000 m² of hull per hour without causing any damage to antifouling surfaces. After cleaning, vessel speed and performance is significantly improved as a result of reduced resistance, which in turn decreases carbon emissions and fuel consumption. And as the system does not use divers to carry out the cleaning, the risk to life is also significantly reduced. HullWiper cleans the vertical sides of a VLCC (approximately 8,000m²) in seven hours, half the 14 hours the same job would take using conventional cleaning methods with divers.
The easy-to-operate machine enables hull cleaning to be carried out alongside during loading or discharge, reducing or even eliminating the need for off-hire time. The entire process is in line with the GAC Group's stringent HSSE and compliance policies as well as all local and regional environmental regulations. Residues and harmful marine growths captured during cleaning are disposed of in an environmentally-friendly manner instead of being discharged into the sea as done using traditional methods.
HullWiper's innovative features have earned it permission from the Norwegian Climate and Pollution Agency KFT to perform cleaning operations within all Norwegian ports and from the UAE Environmental Department and DP World for use in inner harbours at all quays inside the port of Jebel Ali.