‘Hull Skate’ Your Way to Cleaner Hulls, Better Fuel Efficiency
When it come to ship efficiency and emission reduction, the next frontier is devising better means to keep hulls clean from biofouling in the five years between dry dockings. Finding best solutions on hull coating and cleaning is major point of focus among shipping majors globally.
Last month in a feature interview in Maritime Reporter & Engineering News with Royal Caribbean Cruises (RCCL) Anshul Tuteja, Associate VP Global Fleet Optimization, it was made clear that coatings used on the RCCL fleet is a point of intense focus, particularly for Tuteja and his data analytics team, as making a mistake on the coatings for a ship can have a considerable impact on hull fouling thus increased drag and fuel consumption, which according to him could cost an up to $2-3 million more in fuel due to the additional drag in the five years between drydockings.
To help deliver better results RCCL partnered with Maersk Line and its fleet of nearly 600 ships on a coating strategy to share data to make the selection of coatings more analytical, less anecdotal. Hand-in-hand with coatings is frequency and effectiveness of hull cleaning, “because no matter how good the coating is, you’re going to need to clean your hull.” In this regard Tuteja sees great promise in the future of an efficient robotic hull grooming for the RCCL fleet.
Meet the “Hull Skater”
Today Jotun launched the Hull Skating Solutions (HSS), designed to give vessel owners a proactive hull cleaning solution. HSS is designed to provide condition monitoring, inspection and cleaning, technical service and performance and service level guarantees. It is touted by Jotun as the first comprehensive solution of its kind within the industry, providing individual proactive condition monitoring services tailored for each vessel, using a proprietary algorithm and big data to accurately predict fouling development and cleaning schedules.
While there have been several robotic hull cleaning solutions proposed and used in the maritime industry, Jotun is calling the HSS robotic tech unique in that it has been purposely designed for proactive cleaning, and in combination with the SeaQuantum Skate antifouling and a set of services, the HSS will help ship operators combat early stages of fouling. The HullSkater stays on the hull by the force of its magnetic wheels, each equipped with electric motors for propulsion and steering. The vehicle has several cameras and sensors, supporting the operator with data for navigation and documenting fouling on the ship hull. The specially designed motorized brush are intended to keep the hull free from fouling without causing erosion or damage to the hull coating. The vehicle is connected to the operator’s control center through an umbilical and can be operated remotely for vessels anywhere in the world with 4G coverage. Inspection and proactive cleaning of a hull will normally take around 2 to 8 hours depending on size and condition.