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Friday, March 13, 2020 

Jotun and Kongsberg Maritime have joined forces to develop a proactive hull cleaning solution designed to provide full operational flexibility and an optimal environmental footprint.

Called Jotun HullSkater, this cleaning machine is part of Jotun Hull Skating Solutions, claimed to be the first solution developed for proactive bio-fouling control on ships. Kongsberg says it offers the potential to reduce fuel costs by around US$3.6 million and CO2 emissions by 12.5% annually, on a typical vessel.

As Jotun’s strategic partner on the HullSkater project since 2015, Kongsberg Maritime has contributed to the technology and know-how including development of secure remote control, cloud-based data storage, battery technology, acoustics and composite materials. HullSkater uses Kongsberg’s global communications infrastructure and Kognifai cloud ecosystem, both of which contribute to its ability to cut significant performance losses caused by fouling and negate the need for waste collection.

The HullSkater removes individual bacteria and biofilm before macro-fouling takes hold. According to Jotun, this not only delivers peak performance, and unlimited idle days for shipowners, but minimises the need for reactive cleaning, cutting costs, environmental risk and optimising fleet flexibility. The HullSkater stays on the hull by the force of its magnetic wheels, each equipped with electric motors for propulsion and steering. The vehicle has several cameras and sensors, supporting the operator with data for navigation and documenting fouling on the ship hull. The specially designed motorised brush keeps the hull free from fouling without causing erosion or damage to the hull coating. The vehicle is connected to the operator’s control centre through an umbilical and can be operated remotely for vessels anywhere in the world with 4G coverage. Inspection and proactive cleaning of a hull will normally take around 2 to 8 hours depending on size and condition.

Already established as a marine robotics manufacturer, Kongsberg Maritime is responsible for the industrialisation and manufacturing of HullSkater, which will take place at a new facility located close to its Sensors and Robotics campus in Horten, Norway. HullSkater will be supported by extended performance and service level guarantees, with global technical support from Jotun and Kongsberg Maritime.

Alfie Ong, VP Jotun Marine Coatings, said: “Kongsberg Maritime’s expertise in subsea robotics, remote communications and data management, allied with their dedication to sustainability, makes them a perfect fit to partner with us in the development of HullSkater. Together, we have devised a truly innovative solution, which we believe will revolutionise the shipping industry, moving away from traditional, reactive methods of managing fouling to a proactive approach which will ensure that vessels are always operating efficiently and sustainably.”

HullSkater can inspect a 10,000m2 hull in approximately two hours. As a permanent member of crew, it is always on station, ready to clean all known fouling from the hull, which if left to accumulate causes increased drag leading to extra fuel consumption and emissions to air (GHG and CO2).

Egil Haugsdal, President, Kongsberg Maritime, said: “We are delighted to offer our 70 years of underwater technology experience as partner with Jotun to develop a solution that can help customers make their businesses safer, more sustainable and more efficient. Conserving our ocean environment and enabling sustainable marine operations is a priority for Kongsberg, and HullSkater offers a uniquely proactive way to solve the difficult problem of fouling growth.”

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