Classification society DNV GL says it has completed drone-based production surveys, which took place on the MV Apollo, a chemical tanker owned by Carl Büttner Shipmanagement GmbH in Bremerhaven, Germany.
Two DNV GL surveyors used the drone to inspect 14 tanks over a period of two-and-a-half days.
“The advantage of using a drone over conventional staging inside the tank is absolutely clear,” says Jochen Huhn, marine superintendent and chief security officer at Carl Büttner Shipmanagement GmbH. “Eliminating the risk of damage to the coating from staging means the drone survey is worth it, even before we factor in the time saved by this method. We were also all very impressed by the quality of the video and the details the drone was able to obtain in the inspection.”
According to DNV GL, the inspection of ship tanks and holds can be a costly, time-consuming and potentially dangerous operation. The condition of the coating, corrosion, damages, piping, access points, equipment and safety systems all have to be assessed on a regular basis.
However, says the company, using drones to visually check the condition of remote structural components has the potential to significantly reduce survey times and staging costs, as well as improve safety for the surveyors. Both in Europe and China, DNV GL has carried out several tests using drones for the inspection of cargo tanks or holds in a large oil tanker, a chemical tanker and a bulk carrier.
“The success of the first drone production survey performed by a classification society shows how our investment in developing modern-class solutions to benefit our customers is paying off, ”adds Knut Ørbeck-Nilssen, CEO of DNV GL – maritime. “Over the next few years, we will continue to work on expanding the ways the drones can be used and the number of stations where we can offer this service. This is a very promising beginning and one that is already showing a significant benefit in terms of time and costs saved.”