A major classification society has published guidelines for using unmanned vehicles for ship surveys.
ABS has introduced Guidance Notes on the Use of Remote Inspection Technologies to provide information on correctly using unmanned aerial vehicles, remotely operated underwater vehicles and robotic crawlers for inspections.
These technologies are being developed, tested and introduced for multiple types of ship inspections by classification societies and surveyors. ABS’s latest guidance note builds on its previously published Guidance Notes on Using Unmanned Aerial Vehicles.
ABS senior vice president for western hemisphere operations John McDonald explained why these remote inspection technologies (RITs) are being adopted in various commercial segments in maritime.
“The use of RITs can reduce risk for surveyors and inspectors by lessening the need to access potentially hazardous locations at height, or other hazardous inspection areas,” said Mr McDonald.
“These guidance notes demonstrate our commitment to continually address new technologies that support safer and less intrusive surveys.”
Class is developing methods of using RITs for surveys and inspections by fitting digital technology and high definition cameras to remotely controlled devices.
By using RITs, class can collect information, determine trends and the condition of vessel sections in a safe and effective way.
Drones can be used to inspect ship hulls underwater using robotic crawlers, and inside tanks and other hull cavities where it would be dangerous for surveyors to go.
However, RIT use needs to be managed and surveyors controlling them need training and guidance on where to pilot them.
ABS developed its Guidance Notes on the Use of Remote Inspection Technologies through knowledge gained during extensive marine and offshore trials and testing.
The guidance covers:
Other class societies are testing remote inpection technologies in commercial shipping and offshore. Bureau Veritas is developing methods of using drones with cameras and sensors to inspect ships, said Bureau Veritas executive vice president in charge of marine and offshore Matthieu de Tugny.
Shipping groups are also embracing remote inspection technologies to enable surveyors to inspect ship sections more safely and cost-effectively. Japanese shipping group Kawasaki Kisen Kaisha (K Line) has tested unmanned vehicles for ship hull inspection and is developing ways to use this technology for vessel maintenance.
K Line is working with Technos Mihara Corp to develop drones and methods of image analysis to minimise the need for divers in surveys and repairing vessel hulls.
Ports and tug operators are also considering positive applications of unmanned aerial vehicles in their operations. In Q4 2018, the Port of Amsterdam conducted a trial with drone detection technology to improve its understanding of how, where and why remote controlled aerial vehicles are used within ports.
Also in the Netherlands, Kotug International is considering how to utilise flying drones to transfer messenger and mooring lines between tugs and ships.
Remote control technologies will be recognised at Riviera Maritime Media's Sulphur Cap 2020 Conference, Awards and Exhibition held in Amsterdam, the Netherlands, on 8-9 May. Click here to nominate a technology for an award.