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Hyundai Merchant Marine Deploys Robots for Hull Cleaning

A underwater robot is deployed to clean the hull of the 5,000-TEU container ship M/V Hyundai Platinum. Photo: HMM

Laxman Pai

Hyundai Merchant Marine (HMM) has deployed underwater robots to help clean the hull of its vessels.

"We plans to replace human laborers in a risky environment with underwater robots when it comes to hull cleaning work on its vessels. Underwater robots help to prevent industrial accidents and cut environmental pollution," HMM said in a statement.

HMM has signed a cooperation agreement with TAS GLOBAL CO., LTD., a domestic manufacturer specializing in underwater robots.

Hull fouling has long been a problem for shipowners, conspiring to reduce speeds and increase fuel consumption, and emissions.

In step, shipping companies have made an effort to improve fuel efficiency and reduce greenhouse gases through periodic underwater hull cleaning performed by divers sent down under a vessel in many instances.

The diver-free alternative adopted by HMM is expected to not only prevent industrial accident but also contribute to protect ocean life.

Several countries are currently prohibiting in-water cleaning of vessels in their waters due to the high risk of aquatic invasive species(AIS) being easily transferred across the oceans as well as toxic hull paints which jeopardize the marine ecosystem.

However, underwater robots are designed to capture hull fouling and transfer it to shore refining facilities through a filtration system connected to their main body. This robotic technology enables to prevent environmental hazards caused by the transfer of aquatic invasive species.

It is also expected to lower costs by as much as 40% with substantially reduced working hours and to perform a more precise cleaning process without damage to hull coatings.

HMM will continue efforts to incorporate sustainability into every aspect of its business in terms of environmental footprint.

Mar 3, 2020


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