Under Anglo-Eastern supervision, divers thoroughly cleaned the hull of the Boskalis-owned MV Blue Marlin over a two-week period earlier this year to prepare the heavy transport vessel for its next cargo operation in New Zealand waters.
Ship hulls can collect algae, barnacles, mussels, and other organisms from around the world during sailings. This “marine fouling” not only increases resistance and fuel consumption, but also has the potential to introduce new species and diseases from one locality to another. And like Australia, New Zealand has some of the strictest regulations in the world when it comes to protecting its local biodiversity from foreign species and other external threats.
As a result, Blue Marlin had to go above and beyond the usual hull cleaning for optimal performance. In addition to removing the build-up of organisms on the hull, divers had to be sent below the ship to document the process in photos and videos for submission to an approved marine biologist for analysis and reporting to New Zealand’s Ministry of Primary Industries (MPI). Once approved, the ship has 30 days in which to enter New Zealand waters.
“The vessel did not dock for the hull cleaning; we carried out the work at a safe anchorage in Singapore. The divers, whom we hired through a specialist company, went to work in pairs and used water jets, amongst other methods, to clear the hull of fouling – particularly huge numbers of barnacles,” said deputy fleet manager Rahul Tonapi of the challenging operation.
“To meet the strict requirements of MPI was hard work. For a period of about two weeks, we had two – sometimes three – teams working on the hull cleaning. Literally everything had to be clean, in particular all parts of the thrusters and propeller blades, both on port and starboard, which required a lot of effort from the divers.”
Once scrubbed clean and given the green light to proceed, Blue Marlin was free to enter New Zealand waters to load the jack-up rig it had been tasked with transporting. Congrats to the team and especially the third-party diving crew on a job well done that also serves to highlight the advantage of having a proactive hull cleaning system in place like the ones mentioned opposite!