HullWiper launches in South Korea

HullWiper launches in South Korea
The two HullWiper ROV’s in action in South Korean waters

HullWiper has launched operations at its newest location, South Korea. Through a partnership with HullWiper Korea, a company based at the Korea Maritime and Ocean University in Busan, it will provide green, sustainable and affordable hull cleaning solutions to all vessel types calling at the country’s main ports.

Hull cleaning in South Korea is highly regulated to prevent illegal operations performed by divers contaminating local waters with biofouling. HullWiper offers the most eco-friendly solution using Remotely Operated Vehicles (ROVs) to remove and collect all debris from hulls without releasing them into the sea.

By deploying two ROVs simultaneously, HullWiper saves time for ship owners and operators as cleaning can be performed in half the time needed for a single ROV. HullWiper Korea has also designed and developed the “Esther”, an eco-friendly vessel to transport the two ROV units to ports in Busan, Ulsan, Pohang, Masan, Jinhae, Yeosu and Gwangyang. The combination of the fast-moving “Esther” transport vessel and the two ROVs enable a Cape Size vessel’s hull to be cleaned within eight hours. Recent hull cleans for vessels currently in cold and hot lay ups due to the COVID-19 pandemic have shown remarkable results in terms of fuel savings once they are reactivated after being cleaned.

HullWiper’s cost-effective, brush- and diver-free approach is an alternative to traditional methods and protects both vessels’ expensive anti-fouling coatings and marine ecosystems. HullWiper’s ROV removes all pollutants during cleaning and collects them by a unique onboard filter unit for safe disposal onshore. The system uses adjustable seawater jets as the cleaning medium, instead of brushes or abrasives, to minimise the risk of damaging coatings. Removing fouling from vessels’ hulls results in optimal performance, energy efficiency and reduced CO2 emissions, while avoiding the expense of recoating in case of damage. In addition, no divers are used, limiting risk to human life, and allowing cleaning to be conducted day or night, in most weather conditions, and while cargo operations are underway.

“Extending the HullWiper family into Korea makes perfect sense,” said Simon Doran, HullWiper MD. “Korea has industry leading new-build shipyards, and is a major location for all types of shipping from RoRo to LNG. Supporting our Principals with the option of another location increases our global footprint and helps them reach their sustainability targets.”

“Time is money for shipping lines,” commented Mr Byungsoo Yoon, HullWiper Korea MD. “The launch of our operations will correct decreased voyage speed and reduce high fuel costs due to fouled hulls for vessels calling in Korea, it will also enhance the green corporate image for ship owners, operators and shipping lines.”

Mr Yoon highlights that while the cost of cleaning with the HullWiper is similar to that charged by diving companies, the turnaround result differs significantly: Traditional methods can take up to five days to complete a full hull clean, compared to the matter of hours it takes with HullWiper.