In order to keep a vessel at its top performance, protecting and maintaining the integrity of the hull is extremely important. Hull damage or fouling can not only affect the overall speed and fuel efficiency of a vessel, but can also be harmful to the crew, cargo, and has the potential to negatively impact surrounding marine life. The physical ability of the vessel to cut through the water in an efficient manner is imperative for optimal performance and fuel economy.
While necessary, hull inspections can be an incredibly difficult task. Dry docking is expensive and laborious, while dive inspections can pose potential danger to humans in addition to being costly and time consuming.
Submersible remotely operated vehicles (ROVs) provide a cost-efficient, portable and user-friendly way to conduct hull inspections safely and quickly. Staying on top of hull inspections and maintenance allows organisations to make the most of their valuable time and budgets.
What are ROVs
Underwater ROVs are submersible, robotic systems controlled by users topside or onshore.
ROVs offer convenient solutions for underwater in-lieu of drydock (UWILD) inspections, diagnosis of damage response and equipment failure inspections, blocking/pre-drydocking checks, pre-operation/charter vessel surveys, and quality assurance, among numerous other tasks such as retrieving lost items and ensuring port security with contraband inspections.
Deep Trekker has two underwater ROV models; the DTG3 and the REVOLUTION. Deep Trekker ROVs are designed for maximum portability and maneuverability. Their compact size and onboard battery power allows the ROVs to access to remote locations.
Intelligent and advanced, the DTG3 is the best in its class. The mini underwater ROV was built to provide operators the ability to quickly deploy and visually inspect within underwater environments. Depth rated to 200 metres (656 feet) the battery powered vehicles last for up to 8 hours. Carried in a single case, this extremely maneuverable underwater ROV is built to last, and the 4K camera provides excellent real time video footage, even in low light.
The REVOLUTION is a completely reimagined ROV. Mission ready with enhanced payload capabilities, greater depths and advanced stabilisation systems, the REVOLUTION is a serious vehicle. Depth rated to 305 metres (1000 feet), the REVOLUTION boasts numerous comprehensive sensor integrations. The patent pending revolving head allows operators to rotate the camera, manipulator and sonar all while holding station in the water.
The use of ROVs allow teams to optimise their time. External vendors can impact overall project timelines due to conflicting schedules of availability. With the safety concerns of having divers in the water, there can be delays to ensure that the vessel is in a condition that is stable and safe enough for dive operations.
As the DTG3 or REVOLUTION can be operated by one person, they can be deployed significantly faster than divers and allow for schedule flexibility, as well as operational flexibility, as diver health is not a concern. ROVs can be deployed at a moment’s notice for everyday tasks such as block checks during drydocking, hull and running gear inspections, equipment failure investigations, and many more.
Light enough to be manually carried from pier to pier or office to pier by one person, Deep Trekker vehicles are easy to transport to vessel locations. Shore power connection is not required for the battery powered vehicles, making deployment quick and straightforward.
Information can also be easily organised and shared. Once underwater work is complete, the operator simply downloads the data to their computer to develop the dive report noting hull and equipment condition and pointing to any irregularities.
Optimising budgets is crucial for the successful operation of any shipping operation. With an ROV on hand the frequency that dive teams need to be mobilised, or vessels need to be dry docked, is significantly reduced.
Teams can proactively manage their fuel efficiency by conducting regular ROV inspections to determine optimal cleaning and paint schedules - even the smallest layer of fouling on vessel hulls can cut down on the vessel's performance. Conducting regular inspections to evaluate the marine growth will help prioritise when or if cleaning or painting must be conducted. Having extensive knowledge of the condition of their vessels also allows organisations to efficiently manage maintenance schedules to minimise downtime.
Having vessels running at optimal condition through consistent ROV inspection ensures overall efficiency and effectiveness to make the most out of budgets.
Utility crawlers are designed to work in tough underwater environments; equipped with attachments for pressure washing, vacuuming, thickness testing and more.
The Deep Trekker DT640 offers various solutions to unique underwater inspections, with both rubber or magnetic wheel options and designed with skid-less, zero turning radius. Rare Earth magnets allow the utility crawler to move in any direction on ferrous material such as vessel hulls.
With the DT640 operators can drive along the hull of the vessel as another alternative for underwater inspection and vessel maintenance.
Ports and Harbours
The condition of ports and harbours also play a serious role in the effectiveness of your vessel. ROVs allow users to explore the area surrounding the vessel to ensure that all underwater segments of a harbour are functioning in a safe and effective manner. Lost equipment or shipments can also be located and identified, allowing users to provide verification to those concerned.
Read the latest issue of the OGV Energy magazine HERE.