SEPTEMBER 2, 2015 — Poland's Remontowa shipyard recently used a drone to inspect internal spaces in a 51,747 dwt chemical/product tanker.
The ship, the U.K.-flagged, LR-classed CPO Japan is owned by Hamburg, Germany headquartered Claus-Peter Offen Reederei and was delivered in 2009 by South Korean shipbuilder. It arrived at Remontowa on June 15 for its first five year class renewal overhaul.
The tests with the drone were carried out inside one of the ship's cargo tanks. The drone, which is equipped with a high definition camera (with its own lighting), capable of recording HD video and still pictures, was able to access all parts of the tank. It was even able to rest against the bulkhead, while hovering. The contact with the tank wall is possible as the drone's propellers are protected by special shrouding.
"The drone demonstrated excellent stability in confined space allowing for good quality visual inspection material recording," says Remontawa.
The drone is intended to provide surveyor with an overall impression of the state of the hull and bulkheads of a vessel under inspection. The technology may be also applied to inspection of external structures, such as masts or deck crane jibs.
The drone serves as means of visual inspection, mainly for surface (protective coating) condition assessment, i.e. corrosion and cracks detection. In many cases visual inspection results may rule out the necessity of conducting more detailed "hands-on" inspection such as ultrasound thickness measurements, etc., thus allowing to refrain from time-consuming setting up the scaffoldings, which in turn saves time.
Remontowa says its experiments provided a "promising outcome" and says it is willing to proceed with introducing the technology in commercial operations in selected, appropriate applications.