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Roomba for Ships? Shipping Company To Use Robotics for Hull Cleaning

Jotun signed a contract with Mediterranean Shipping Company (MCS) for installation of its cleaning robot, similar to the Roombas used for vacuuming floors in many households, for “proactive cleaning” in container vessels.

MSC will install the Jotun HullSkater and the SeaQuantum Skate antifouling on the 14,000 20-ft-equivalent unit MSC EVA later this year at GWD Guangzhou Shipyard in China. The vessel’s exposure to differing water temperatures and environments contribute to its risk of severe biofouling. The installation comes at the same time it will undergo class renewal and scrubber installation.

Jotun operators control the HullSkater via a 4G connection to conduct cleaning and inspections in line with individual vessel schedules developed through a proprietary algorithm and big data.

The HullSkater uses magnetic wheels to cling to vessel hulls and works to remove individual bacteria and biofilm before macrofouling grows. Early removal of fouling reduces the risk of damage to, or erosion of, coating and brushes.

Jotun said its Hull Skating Solutions (HSS), unveiled in March, ensure an “always clean” vessel hull, with no biofouling, optimal efficiency, reduced fuel costs, and lower CO2 emissions. fouling can be removed without risk of damage to, or erosion of, coating nor brushes.

Jotun claims if all ships facing challenges adopted the HSS proactive approach, cleaning hulls before biofouling takes hold and therefore eliminating associated drag and fuel consumption, maritime CO2 emissions could be reduced by at least 40 mtpa.

HSS was developed over several years and brought to market by Jotun in cooperation with KONGSBERG. Comprehensive testing has been taking place on vessels, in partnership with leading shipowners and at selected ports worldwide.

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