EverClean navigates hull maintenance requirements

by | 28th July 2023 | Shiprepair & Maintenance - News, Technology

Home News EverClean navigates hull maintenance requirements

EverClean's Hull Service Robot

Intelligent robots promise shipowners an ‘always clean’ approach that benefits CII ratings


The management of biofouling is an increasingly important element within the fleet maintenance strategies of all shipowners and operators as they strive to meet demanding environmental protection and decarbonisation targets. The use of remotely operated vehicles (ROVs) is growing in response to this requirement, offering a safe and effective means of removing biofouling, and thereby reducing fuel consumption, without disrupting the operating schedules of the vessel.

Earlier this year a significant new technological development was unveiled with the launch of EverClean, a service using hull cleaning robots that has been developed by US-based Greensea. Greensea is one of the market leaders in underwater robotics control and navigation, whose open architecture operating system for marine robotics, OpenSea, is currently in use on over 3000 vehicles worldwide. 

OpenSea, coupled with another Greensea product, Safe C2, enables the operation of the EverClean Hull Service Robot (HSR) from anywhere over the horizon. Rob Howard, chief growth officer with Greensea, says: “This is crucial for any system that resides on a ship. Our biggest advantage over other systems is our proprietary ship hull relative navigation system, which provides extremely accurate navigation of the HSR on the hull of the ship, and which enables us to provide detailed data using pinpoint accuracy.”

Thanks to its sophisticated navigation technology, the HSR navigates its way over the hull intelligently, and, like georeferencing, maps the hull condition to its appropriate on-hull location. This ensures the cleaning of each section of the hull without accidental repeat and provides a way to always ensure a clean hull, with the addition of an accurate hull condition survey after each clean.

“The HSR is highly efficient and does not overwork the coating system, by using a soft brushing system, while remaining fast enough to meet the short time spans a ship often must be cleaned while in port or at anchorage. This requires accurate navigation on the hull, otherwise you cannot be both efficient and fast,” Howard adds.

Following a trial period of demonstrating the effectiveness of the hull cleaning robots – which have been developed in partnership with Armach Robotics – with several commercial shipping operators, EverClean was launched commercially earlier this year. Already the Greensea technology driven EverClean system has secured notable contracts, including with Carnival Cruise Lines and the Royal Netherlands Navy, and has been used on a wide range of vessel types, including tankers, cruise ships, ro-ro vessels, naval ships and offshore support vessels (OSVs).

One of the most challenging tasks so far for the EverClean hull service robots was cleaning a 300m-long cruise ship in only seven hours, using multiple HSRs. Howard says: “Achieving a complete clean of a vessel this big, in such a short space of time with a robot that is only the size of a suitcase poses numerous challenges, as you might expect. But we were able to overcome them by providing a customised solution to  complete the hull clean to the satisfaction of the operator.” 

The EverClean hull service robot also has been proven in some of the most challenging in-water environments as far as hull maintenance is concerned, including low visibility turbid waters and during nighttime subsea operations. “The EverClean HSR is set apart from other cleaning systems because of its sonar-based navigation technology,” according to Howard. “This makes it capable of operating when and where others cannot.”

Greensea believes that market conditions are right for a rapid take up of the EverClean system, as it can benefit the CII rating of the ship by lowering fuel consumption and emissions following hull cleaning. Howard adds: “EverClean also has the benefit of maintaining the biosecurity of the hull by preventing invasive species from becoming established, an important factor when travelling to restrictive ports around the world. Furthermore, using data collected during the service we are planning to develop several new offerings to the shipping industry, creating a validation process that allows shipowners to provide governing bodies with the information they require.”

In Howard’s view Greensea’s capacity to develop and apply advanced capabilities in the HSR is key to offering vessel owners a new scalable and efficient way to manage their fleet’s hull performance. “We can change the entire dynamic around hull maintenance from an inefficient, episodic or reactionary model, to an always clean intelligence-based one,” he suggests. “By focusing on the ship staying always clean, EverClean further enhances operational efficiencies through the constant collection and reporting of important ship hull data to aid hull change detection and coating system monitoring.” 

Related Posts