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ROV Hull Inspection

Invocean Guide to using ROV for Hull Inspection, UWILD, and Underwater NDT

The revolution of remotely operated vehicle (ROV) and underwater drones has profoundly affected various domains, including ship and boat hull inspections. Industry pioneers such as QYSEA, Chasing Innovation, Invocean, and Blue Robotics have set new standards with a wide range of specialized devices and accessories. These market leaders offer a wide range of highly specialized devices and accessories, transforming underwater ship inspections into highly efficient and safe operations with a positive response from the classification society.
Highlighting the Importance of Hull Inspections.
A critical aspect of a vessel's safety and performance is the integrity of its hull. Hull inspections provide a detailed analysis and visual inspection of the hull's structure, uncovering signs of damage, corrosion, or wear. By regularly conducting these inspections, early detection of potential issues can mitigate the risk of catastrophic failures and costly repairs.
Underwater in-Lieu of Drydocking (UWILD) Inspections.
One prominent application of ROV's in the marine industry is Underwater Inspections in-Lieu of Drydocking (UWILD). UWILD has become an accepted practice for commercial vessels, providing a cost-effective, safe, and efficient way to carry out routine inspections without the need for drydocking. This can be performed by a Commercial Diving team or advanced ROV's such as the QYSEA FIFISH V6s, Chasing Innovation's M range of Underwater Drones, Invocean's Lusca ROV, and Blue Robotics' BlueROV2 are ideal tools for UWILD. Their compact designs, high-resolution cameras, powerful lighting, and ability to withstand harsh underwater environments make them perfect for inspecting a ship's hull, rudder, propellers, and weld seams.

Subsea Inspections
Subsea inspections go beyond the hull to include underwater structures such as offshore platforms, pipelines, and submarine cables. ROV's play a vital role in these inspections due to their capability to reach considerable depths, withstand high pressure, and provide clear visuals even in low-light conditions. Take for instance, the FIFISH V6s from QYSEA, it's capable of diving up to 100msw, allowing for deep-sea inspections. Invocean's Lusca, equipped with advanced sonar images, can conduct subsea inspections even in murky waters or low visibility conditions. These ROVs can carry additional equipment such as manipulator arms to interact with underwater objects, making them suitable for complex subsea operations.
Non-Destructive Testing (NDT)
Non-Destructive Testing (NDT) is another area where ROV's have found extensive application for ROV inspection. NDT technique testing methods such as ultrasonic testing, visual testing, and eddy-current testing are used to inspect hulls, tanks, pipelines, and other structures for flaws or signs of corrosion without causing any damage. For instance, the BlueROV2 from Blue Robotics can be equipped with a payload skid designed to carry NDT equipment like thickness gauges. Similarly, the Chasing Innovation Gladius Mini, with its high-definition camera and stability, is capable of executing visual testing under various light conditions.
Utilizing Advanced ROVs for Below Waterline Inspections
Historically, inspecting areas beneath the waterline required either dry-docking the vessel or deploying divers for a manual inspection. However, the emergence of advanced ROV technology from QYSEA, Chasing Innovation, Invocean, and Blue Robotics has revolutionized this process. Key models such as the QYSEA FIFISH V6s, with its omnidirectional movement and 4K UHD camera; Chasing Innovation's M2 Pro with its ultra-stable footage capability and 4-hour runtime; Invocean's Lusca, equipped with its advanced power system; and Blue Robotics' BlueROV2, known for its high payload capacity and flexible modular design, facilitate accurate inspections of hard-to-reach areas, identifying minute damages.

Choosing the Right Equipment for Hull Inspections
The cutting-edge ROV's and underwater drones from QYSEA, Chasing Innovation, Invocean, and Blue Robotics are tailor-made for hull inspections, providing a host of advantages over traditional methods. Their compact size, high maneuverability, and robust build allow them to explore depths and confined spaces hazardous for divers. Their high-definition cameras, powerful lighting, and robust thrusters, such as the Blue Robotics' thrusters, capture real-time video footage of the hull's condition. Additionally, these ROV's can be customized with a range of tools for specific tasks such as ultrasonic thickness gauges or marine growth removal tools.
ROV Operations for Hull Inspections
Hull inspection ROV require strategic deployment from the surface, remotely guiding the device around the hull by and ROV Pilot or trained personnel. The operation starts with a comprehensive scan of the hull's exterior, prioritizing high-risk areas prone to corrosion or damage, such as the waterline, rudder, and propeller regions.
Boat Hull Inspections with Advanced ROVs
Even smaller vessels like boats significantly benefit from advanced ROV technology. A boat hull inspection mirrors the process followed for larger vessels. Models like the Gladius Mini from Chasing Innovation, known for its compact size and agility, are ideal for inspecting small boat hulls, providing real-time video feed to the operator on the surface.
Performing Underwater Ships Hull Inspections with Cutting-edge ROVs
Underwater hull inspections involve the operator controlling the chosen ROV from the surface, methodically guiding it along the hull. Following a pre-determined grid pattern ensures a thorough inspection of the entire surface, leaving no area unexamined. The operator then reviews the live video feed for any signs of damage, such as corrosion, cracks, or biofouling.

Comprehensive Underwater Inspection of Ships
Underwater inspections include a detailed examination of other components like propellers, thrusters, sea chests, and appendages. State-of-the-art technology from QYSEA, Chasing Innovation, Invocean, and Blue Robotics, like the QYSEA FIFISH V6s's 4000-lumen LED lights, Invocean Lusca accurate depth gauge, and Blue Robotics' Ping 360 scanning sonar, provides high-resolution, wide-angle scans, offering a comprehensive view of the vessel's underwater structure.
Mastering the Underwater Survey Process
The underwater survey commences with a strategic plan that includes the vessel's size, type, and known areas of concern. The ROV or underwater drone is then launched and guided along the hull in a systematic pattern. Throughout the survey, the operator maintains a record of discovered issues, noting their locations and severity for later reference and remediation.
Carrying Out Underwater Ship Surveys with ROVs
During the underwater ship survey, high-resolution images and video footage are captured for future review and reporting, facilitated by the advanced camera systems on the ROV's and drones, like the M2 Pro 4K UHD camera, and the BlueROV2 adaptability. The survey covers the hull's exterior, the rudder, the propeller, and any other underwater structures integral to the ship, ensuring early detection of potential problems.
The Future of Hull Inspections and Beyond

Adopting ROV's and underwater drones from pioneering companies like QYSEA, Chasing Innovation, Invocean, and Blue Robotics for ship and boat hull inspections offers a safer, more efficient means of evaluating a vessel's hull integrity and cost-effective solutions for hull inspections, UWILD, subsea inspections, and NDT. Their diverse range of technologically advanced models and accessories, coupled with skilled operation and thorough data analysis, are set to reshape the maritime industry.
As technology continues to advance, these devices are expected to play an increasingly critical role in the maritime industry, including ship maintenance, boat maintenance, safety procedures, and various underwater inspection requirements. With the wide range of models and accessories available, and the ability to analyze high-resolution, real-time data, the use of ROVs is transforming the way inspections are conducted. Regular inspections significantly enhance the lifespan of vessels, improve safety, minimize overall operating costs, and provide an invaluable tool for operators in the industry.

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