GAC EnvironHull’s bases in Jebel Ali and Fujairah meet the needs of general cargo and container vessels alongside at the UAE ports of Jebel Ali, Sharjah and Khor Fakkan, where conventional hull cleaning operations using divers with brushes is prohibited. The company is also now attending to VLCCs and LNG carriers at the Dubai anchorage, cruise liners at the Port Rashid Cruise Terminal, and all types of vessels at the Fujairah and Khor Fakkan anchorages.
The group’s Gothenburg base covers Scandinavia, including the Sound, Great Belt and Skaw areas, and serves both Copenhagen and Malmö ports. Its Singapore facility caters for all Singapore and Malaysian water locations, both at anchor and alongside, where it can operate around-the-clock. Finally, GAC’s newest base in Valencia services Spanish ports and anchorages. This latest extension of the service took place last October, and HullWiper is now being offered to vessels at the port of Valencia through GAC EnvironHull’s local partner, Burriel-Navarro.
Valencia was selected due to its strategic location, supporting various shipping routes and operators. From this hub, GAC EnvironHull will offer haul cleaning to ships sailing within the Balearic.
“As in so many regions around the world, there is a growing demand in the Mediterranean for safer cleaning operations,” says GAC EnvironHull’s managing director Simon Doran. “This is the latest stage in the expansion of our operations to help meet that demand with HullWiper’s unique features.”
GAC plans to roll out the concept to further locations over the coming year. Doran says: “The uptake of the service at our existing bases has been gradual, but based on numbers the outlook is increasingly optimistic. We know it works, something confirmed by the fact that one of the largest container lines has already renewed its fleet contract with us three times. That is a strong testimony to the benefits and effectiveness of the HullWiper.”
In recent months the group has carried out a number of notable projects. Its Gothenburg team were called to Mongstad in Norway in December last year to service vessels from a leading energy company as part of GAC’s fleet agreement with them. Despite very difficult Scandinavian weather conditions, three vessels were cleaned in the week they were in Mongstad.
While the technology is relatively new, GAC is continually refining it. Doran says: “We are always updating the software and assessing the material design to find ways to improve efficiency and longevity of consumables. One of my personal dreams is that one day we will be able to convert the marine fouling collected by HullWiper to manufacture bio fuel pellets for domestic use in third world countries.”
The HullWiper can clean up to 2,000m² of hull per hour without causing any damage to anti-fouling surfaces, thanks to brushless technology which uses adjustable pressure water jets to remove marine fouling. As no divers are involved, cleaning can be done alongside during loading or discharging operations, and any risk to life is significantly reduced. According to GAC, HullWiper cleans about five times faster than conventional cleaning methods with divers, and hence reduces cleaning time by approximately half.