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Cliin cargo hold robot technology shipowners saving shipowners' time, costs and minimising delay risks

Published by , Editorial Assistant
Dry Bulk,

The dry bulk industry could greatly reduce the risk of cargo contamination, surveyor non-compliance hold-ups, and charter party disputes, as well as substantially reduce cargo hold cleaning costs, according to CLIIN, the safe and environmentally-friendly robot technology revolutionising ship cargo hold cleaning.

Cliin cargo hold robot technology shipowners saving shipowners' time, costs and minimising delay risks

CLIIN, which has so far deployed robots to shipowners’ Ultrabulk, Norden, J. Lauritzen and Oldendorff, claims its technology also means that the dry bulk sector could prevent the dissemination of as much as 300,000 tonnes of chemicals being released into the world’s oceans when cleaning cargo holds.

For decades, the same methods have been used to clean dry-bulk cargo holds – with crew members using strong alkaline and acidic chemicals, scrubbing equipment, and brushes, often while suspended from rigging systems while holding high-powered pressure hoses.

The CLIIN robot system represents a departure from this outdated approach. Combining cutting-edge robot technology, its scales cargo holds while simultaneously controlling a high-pressure water cleaning system and requiring only one or two crew members - creating a raft of benefits compared to traditional methods of cleaning dry-bulk cargo holds.

Thomas Jørgensen, co-founder and director of CLIIN, commented: “For too long the dry-bulk industry has been rigidly fixed to traditional and outdated cargo hold cleaning methods that are not only time-consuming, but pose a risk to crew welfare, and expose our oceans to unnecessary exposure to millions of litres of chemicals.

“In securing pioneering shipowners like Ultrabulk, Norden, Lauritzen, and Oldendorff, and getting their positive feedback, we are very hopeful that the rest of the dry-bulk industry will see this as an opportunity to save costs, time and improve safety, while having a positive environmental impact. CLIIN’s robot brings a seismic change in cleaning techniques and is a win-win for all parties, not only is it safer and cleaner, but it can represent a huge amount of time and financial savings”.

Jonas Warming, Senior Optimisation Manager, NORDEN A/S, added: “We are positive about the opportunities the hold cleaning robot from CLIIN offers to NORDEN. Not only is the robot able to reach high areas, which are difficult for the crew to reach, but test results also show that the quality of the cleaning is improved. The water heater, which is part of the robot equipment, should also assist in providing a more environmentally friendly cleaning by reducing the amount of chemicals and water used. Our cooperation with CLIIN has been excellent and the feedback from our crew and port captains has been taken into account by CLIIN for robot upgrades and modifications.”

P. Martin Kondrup, Technical Manager at Lauritzen Bulkers, commented: “We are convinced of the key safety and environmental benefits of CLIIN’s cargo hold cleaning robots. Also of their commercial benefits of reducing turnaround and laytime for our vessels. That’s why we chose to become directly involved in their development right from the very beginning. We already have robots installed on our vessels, and will increase the usage of the robots in the time to come.”

Anders Wulff, General Manager, Ultrabulk A/S said: “Using the CLIIN robots we will succeed reducing the amount of chemicals beneficial for the crew’s working environment. At the same time we expect improvement of the preservation of the paint in the cargo holds – and not a least less impact on the marine environment. We are looking forward to a continued good and close corporation with CLIIN developing this concept to even wider areas onboard the vessels.”

Dexter Jeremiah, Managing Director Operations, Oldendorff Carriers added: “In the pursuit of an environmentally friendly and safer option to clean cargo holds we have partnered with CLIIN to provide an efficient and viable solution for cleaning and maintaining cargo holds of our large bulk fleet”.

Cost benefits

Typically, operators have to purchase up to thousands of litres of strong cleaning chemicals, while several crew members, dressed in protective material and setting up rigging and support harnesses for hard-to-reach areas, will clean and scrub the hull.

The robot system uses its innovative design to access 80 - 100% of the hold – with no need for the use of dangerous chemicals and using only a few crew members, each requiring only minimal physical effort and training. The lack of need to buy chemicals, quicker cleaning time and reduced crew involvement means that there’s a return on investment with every clean completed - with incremental returns when more cleanings are done.

Time benefits and reduced delay benefits

The CLIIN robot can take between four to eight hours to clean a hold depending on ships size and regardless of the condition and cargo carried, reduce cleaning time by up to 50%, compared to traditional cleaning methods. Critically, this process also requires far fewer crew members; reducing total work hours. When transporting exceptionally dirty cargo such as coal, concentrates or coke, time savings are even more substantial.

The robot reduces the risk of costly consequences that can result from poorly cleaned cargo holds. The robot greatly reduces the risk of cargo contamination, which can lead to cargo damage claims from receivers. This in turn reduces the risk of a cargo hold being rejected by inspectors and triggering delays and charter party disputes.

Safety and environmental benefits

Safety of crew has always been a number one concern for ship owners, operators and managers, while the shipping industry is being increasingly concerned with reducing its environmental impact.

The robot represents a safer and more environmentally friendly approach to cleaning cargo holds. As the robot almost eliminates the need for strong chemicals, it means fewer crew members being exposed to these toxic substances. Furthermore, it can mean that millions of litres of harmful chemicals will no longer be emptied into the ocean, potentially doing significant harm to the marine ecosystem.

The risk to crew members being injured is also greatly reduced due to fact that there is no need to suspend crew members on harnesses from the hatch coaming. Furthermore, there is no need for costly and burdensome chemical safety suits when using the CLIIN robot.

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