Norwegian-based Jotun has signed the first commercial contract for container vessels for its Jotun Hull Skating Solutions (HSS) with container shipping major Mediterranean Shipping Company (MSC).

MSC plans to install the Jotun HullSkater, a robotic technology that has been designed for proactive cleaning, on the 14,000 TEU MSC Eva later this year.

HSS will be installed at GWD Guangzhou Shipyard in China at the same time as MSC Eva undergoes class renewal and scrubber installation.

This is the first solution developed for proactive bio-fouling control on ships and offers the potential to reduce fuel costs by around $3.6 million and CO2 emissions by 12.5% annually, on a typical vessel, the company explained.

The robot is lodged in a custom housing on deck when not in use, roaming the vessel on magnetic wheels when operated through Jotun’s dedicated control centres via 4G connection.

Basically, once underwater, the unit is remotely controlled from a control center in Norway.

This way shipowners minimize the need for reactive cleaning, cutting fuel costs and optimizing fleet flexibility, Jotun said.

At the same time, ships can meet increasingly strict local and global regulations designed to protect marine ecosystems from alien invasive species.

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“We have worked with MSC as a partner to provide premium anti-fouling coatings to their advanced fleet over many years and knew that HSS would chime with their ambitions to deliver both improved environmental performance and enhanced efficiency and cost control for business stakeholders. HSS is a clear win-win in that respect,” Alberto Genovesi – Marine Global Key Account Manager, Performance Coatings comments.

Jotun believes that if all ships facing biofouling challenges due to different routes and water temperatures adopted the HSS proactive approach – cleaning hulls before biofouling takes hold and therefore eliminating associated drag and fuel consumption – maritime CO2 emissions could be reduced by at least 40 million tons per year.

“We believe HSS will help solve the problem of biofouling, equating to strong benefits for the natural world – through reduced emissions and decreased spread of invasive species – and better results for our business, customers and society. This is the embodiment of what we’re looking to achieve at MSC,” Giuseppe Gargiulo, Head of Newbuildings, MSC Mediterranean Shipping Company, said.

“Clean hulls are only one piece of the jigsaw when it comes to delivering a more sustainable shipping industry, but a central piece nonetheless. MSC is committed to exploring and trialing new scalable solutions to minimise overall environmental impact, for both our business and the shipping industry as a whole.”

HSS has been developed over several years and brought to market by Jotun in cooperation with KONGSBERG.

The solution has been tested on vessels in a multi-year project in partnership with Wallenius Wilhelmsen, Berge Bulk, and Maersk, among others.

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