Testing, inspection and certification expert Bureau Veritas has revealed new ways for owners and operators to have their ships surveyed using remote inspection techniques operated by BV’s surveyors in France.
BV’s key objective with the development of remote inspection techniques (RIT) is to limit the use of costly and dangerous means of access, replacing them with safer, more efficient technologies during structural inspections of vessel hulls. RIT also provides value to shipowners and operators, supporting the optimization of survey time, facilitating the preparation and planning of dry-dock repairs, and saving costs.
The announcement follows two years of work to assess the potential, usage and value of RIT, which BV validated through a series of tests, proofs of concept and pilot surveys with aerial and underwater drones, crawlers and remotely operated vehicles on different types of vessels. In applicable cases, especially the close-up inspection of large cargo and ballast spaces at renewal or intermediate surveys, BV conducted surveys with drones operated by RIT service suppliers certified by BV and contracted by shipowners. BV has already approved 41 RIT operators.
To improve operating modes with expanded capabilities and greater safety, BV has also invested in aerial drones and the training of BV surveyors in their use. The first surveys with aerial drones operated by BV surveyors took place in early 2022 on a cable-laying ship and a container ship, for renewal and intermediate surveys.
“Digitalization and remote inspection techniques are boosting shipping’s entire business operations,” said Bruno Dabouis, VP South Europe, North Africa & North America at Bureau Veritas Marine & Offshore. “The advantage of using aerial drones in applicable cases has been fully confirmed, and technologies are developing fast. This investment in new technologies and training is an important milestone. Shipping is evolving, class is evolving. This is a significant step in the safety, time and costs of running inspection surveys.”