Fleet Cleaner ROVs have been developed to assist in various maritime activities, including oil spill response operations. They are designed to clean the hulls of ships and other vessels, removing marine organisms such as barnacles and algae that can accumulate over time. By maintaining clean hulls, these systems help improve fuel efficiency and reduce emissions.
In the context of oil spill response, hull cleaning robots can play a crucial role in preventing the spread of oil and minimizing environmental impact. When a vessel is involved in an oil spill, the oil can adhere to the hull and be transported to other areas during the vessel's movement. By quickly cleaning the contaminated hull, the robot can remove the oil before it spreads further.
One of the pioneering organizations in the concept of remote hull cleaning is the Dutch company Fleet Cleaner, which started its operations in the port of Rotterdam. While conventional onboard cleaning takes place above the waterline, requiring the vessel to be lifted, Fleet Cleaner's robots perform cleaning at depths of up to 10 meters.
The versatile Fleetcleaner machine uses high-pressure water jets to clean the entire hull surface. Depending on the coating type, condition, and level of fouling, the water pressure is continuously regulated to ensure effective cleaning without damaging the coating.
The cleaning robot is remotely operated or can work autonomously, accessing areas that are difficult for humans to reach. To efficiently remove oil and other contaminants from the hull surface, the remote-operated systems are equipped with various cleaning mechanisms, such as brushes, scrapers, high-pressure water jets, and suction devices. All the collected pollutants are gathered in a 20-foot container, which is transported to a support vessel.
The Fleet Cleaner hull cleaning robot is attached to the vessel's hull using multiple magnets. The two-meter-long device weighs approximately 800 kg in water.
Proper hull cleaning is crucial in preventing the spread of oil and pollutants. By effectively removing oil residues, these hull cleaning robots help protect marine ecosystems, minimize the impact on the environment, and facilitate the recovery process.