Valencia, Spain – The Spanish port of Valencia could be set to break Algeciras’ virtual vessel maintenance services monopoly in the country, thanks to the availability of the eco-friendly HullWiper hull cleaner, according to the Managing Director of the company behind the diver-free system.
“Until now, hull cleaning in Spain has largely been associated with Algeciras, at the southern tip of the country, due to the concentration of maintenance companies using traditional methods there,” says GAC EnvironHull’s Simon Doran. “But that could be changing. With the availability of HullWiper, Valencia is featuring more and more on the radar of owners and operators looking for an alternative that makes sound economical and ecological sense.”
Clean hull, clean conscience
The Remotely Operated Vehicle (ROV) cleans hulls without compromising hull coatings, or putting human life and the sensitive marine environment at risk. Instead of divers with brushes, HullWiper uses adjustable water jets to remove fouling and collects the debris for environmentally-sound disposal. The ROV is operated from shore with the help of lights and cameras, and cleaning can be carried out at any time, day or night, in most weather conditions, even during loading or unloading.
Valencia is one of a growing number of ports to recognise HullWiper as a viable alternative to traditional hull cleaning using divers and brush carts, and has granted it permission to operate in its waters. The system is also offered at a variety of locations elsewhere in Europe as well as in the Middle East and Asia.
Doran believes HullWiper could help boost the fortunes and eco-friendly credentials of the port, especially with operators of vessels returning from or preparing for voyages in the Atlantic and beyond.
“HullWiper plays an active role in supporting the sustainability agenda at the Port of Valencia,” he adds. “It is one of a number of new technologies that have been adopted by the port to help meet the market challenges faced by ship owners, operators and the wider industry."
GAC EnvironHull is offering the incentive of a 20% discount on all HullWiper cleans conducted at Valencia. It’s a strategy that supports Doran’s view that earning the confidence of the industry is a key challenge in the transition from traditional hull cleaning techniques.
“Word of mouth is a powerful tool in the shipping industry,” he says. “As the message spreads about the benefits of HullWiper at ports like Valencia, the next question ship owners and operators will ask is how the technology could benefit them.
“The concept of hull cleaning is being reinvented in the context of today’s emerging technologies, including HullWiper. For new hull cleaning solutions to fulfil their potential, the long-term and multi-faceted benefits for owners and operators must be communicated effectively. HullWiper is much more than a maintenance measure, both here in Valencia and globally.”
Calculate and compare
To complement the HullWiper service, GAC EnvironHull has developed an online fuel savings calculator to compare the financial benefits of the system with traditional methods. The online calculator factors in vessel size, speed, voyage, fuel type, temperature and anti-fouling coatings used for a range of vessels including bulk carriers, container ships, LNG/LPG vessels and tankers.