Shipshave scoops coveted tech innovation award for in-transit hull cleaning solution

Shipshave has emerged as the winner of the coveted Most Innovative Proven Technology Award in the inaugural SNIC Innovation Awards for its cutting-edge in-transit cleaning of hulls (ITCH) solution that removes biofouling during a voyage to boost fuel efficiency and decarbonisation.

The keenly contested prize was among three technology awards handed out at the Singapore Norway Innovation Conference (SNIC) 2023, with the theme Innovate to Zero, that is hosted annually in the Lion City by the Norwegian Business Association Singapore (NBAS).

Shipshave earned the accolade for having “the most innovative commercial-ready and implementable solutions or products proven to impact the maritime industry through improving operational efficiency, sustainability or decarbonisation”, according to the award citation.

‘Strong endorsement’

The Stavanger-based company was selected among a strong field of candidates for the award by an expert jury including Innovation Norway’s technology advisor Per Christer Lund and DNV Maritime’s Regional Manager South East Asia, Pacific & India, Cristina Saenz de Santa Maria.

The award was presented to Shipshave’s Regional Sales & Marketing Director - APAC, Charlie Lim, by NBAS President Leonard Stornes, who headed the jury.

“We are extremely honoured and delighted to have secured this award, which represents a strong endorsement of our unique low-cost solution to reduce biofouling en-route, thereby contributing to cleaner hulls with less drag to cut fuel consumption and emissions,” says Shipshave’s CEO Aage Hoejmark.

He continues: “This is a well-deserved recognition of the work done by our team together with our partners and early adopters. Innovation Norway and the Norwegian Research Council also deserves an honourable mention for having contributed to the funding of the ITCH development.”

Shipshave’s ITCH solution is a semi-autonomous hull-cleaning robot that can be deployed by the crew from a portable winch mounted on the forecastle deck.

The robotic tool harvests propulsion energy to stay attached to the hull and swipe up and down the hull underwater using soft brushes. An integrated video camera on the device enables real-time monitoring of the hull cleaning process and post-cleaning inspection via the ITCH digital application.

Implementation by industry

It is estimated the technology can clean between 80-90% of the parallel/vertical area of a Handysize bulker’s hull during sailing in a five-hour operation, with typical opex of less than $250 per cleaning.

Proactive cleaning of the vessel to prevent fouling, which increases viscous resistance and vessel drag in the water, results in better hull performance due to improved hydrodynamics that cuts fuel use. According to the IMO’s GloFouling report, well maintained hulls can contribute to a 5-25% reduction in GHG emissions.

This means vessel speed can be maintained during transit while still meeting CII requirements, thereby avoiding slow steaming that involves costly derating of the engine, according to Hoejmark.

The technology, initially trialled in 2019, is now being implemented in fleet operations by several major industry players following successful testing on a number of vessels.

Stolt Tankers reported a marked reduction in fuel consumption following an initial trial of ITCH on its vessel Stolt Acer during a voyage from Port Said, Egypt to Algeciras, Spain and has expanded trials of the solution to five more ships.

“We utilize ITCH as a mean to reduce additional drag due to fouling, hence reducing emissions to the atmosphere and improving efficiency of the fleet. It also represents a nice example of collaborative effort among Shipshave and Stolt Tankers,” says Stolt Tankers’ Energy and Conservation Manager, Jose Gonzalez Celis.

Klaveness Combination Carriers is expanding roll-out of the robots across its fleet with five additional units after pilots on four vessels showed fuel efficiency improvements of between 2-5%.  Furthermore, Teekay Tankers plans to install Shipshave on four more vessels this year after a successful trial.

Fuel savings

A fuel consumption assessment conducted by DNV found that Shipshave’s technology can deliver fuel savings of around 10% when used regularly.

Shipshave is designed as a proactive solution for hull cleaning as an alternative to retroactive cleaning in ports. This avoids the need for offhire deviations to approved ports for cleaning with associated scheduling and logistics, while also saving time on port turnarounds, Hoejmark explains.

There are further environmental benefits as being able to remove and dispose of fouling mid-ocean rather than in port curbs the spread of non-indigenous invasive species to coastal ecosystems. This also prevents deposits of biocide and plastic residues due to erosion of anti-fouling coatings with heavy-duty cleaning in port.

“Our mission is to redefine hull maintenance, enabling the crew to take control over hull performance and thereby improve voyage efficiency,” says Shipshave’s founder Rune Freyer.

Teekay Tankers to install Shipshave on four ships in 2023

The installation plans are being revealed on the back of a successful trial period during sea passages to keep a silicone-coated hull free of fouling which the tanker owner carried out in coordination with Hempel Paint.

The move is part of the company’s energy efficiency strategy aimed at meeting the company’s GHG reduction goals.

The innovative system is developed by the Norwegian company Shipshave. The In-Transit Cleaning of Hulls (ITCH) allows the crew to clean the hull while a ship is sailing, instead of hiring specialists, and dispose of removed fouling far from shores to avoid invasive species disturbing marine life.

The semi-autonomous hull cleaning robot comprises a winch on the foredeck of the vessel that tethers the robot. The robot is equipped with soft brushes, harvests propulsion energy to clean the vertical sides of the hull underwater, and sweeps up and down. It travels with a defined pattern with controlled brush forces.

The system is intended to be proactively applied before fouling becomes a real problem, but it can also remove settled fouling by repetitive operations, according to Shipshave.

The system has been utilized by industry majors such as Stolt Tankers and Klaveness Combination Carriers (KCC).

After a successful pilot of Shipshave’s solution onboard four vessels over 2021-22, KCC has confirmed an order for purchasing a further five latest generation Shipshave ITCH models.

According to the company, the decision was made after analyzing the fuel performance of the four vessels operating a Shipshave ITCH, which showed improvements in fuel efficiency between 2-5%.

  • The article was written April 12, 2023, by


It's not bragging if you can back it up!

Klaveness Combination Carriers (KCC) will expand its roll-out of the semi-autonomous hull cleaning solution, Shipshave ITCH, with five additional robots to reduce hull fouling on its fleet.

After a successful pilot of Shipshave’s solution onboard four vessels over 2021-22, KCC has confirmed an order for purchasing a further five latest generation Shipshave ITCH models. The decision was made after analyzing the fuel performance of the four vessels operating a Shipshave ITCH, which showed improvements in fuel efficiency between 2-5%. A close collaboration with Klaveness Ship Management (KSM), the crew aboard the vessel and Shipshave’s engineers has been essential for further developing the solution to become a fleet-wide tool for KCC.

“The friction force from the vessels’ hulls is the major resistance factor from the operation of deep-sea vessels. Biofouling of the hull greatly increases this resistance, resulting in higher carbon emissions. In addition, there is also a potential biodiversity risk when transferring alien biomass from the vessels’ hulls across oceans into vulnerable regions. Shipshave ITCH helps us to maintain fouling-free vertical sides of the hulls and delivers on both challenges and we look forward to rolling out the solution to the full CLEANBU fleet,” comments KSM’s Head of Projects and Business Transformation Martin Wattum.

“KCC was the very first pilot user of our ITCH and has played a significant role in our further developments. Simplifications and improvements are the result of top collaboration between the tripartite structure of the User, Supplier and Buyer. We believe innovation is well nurtured this way. Shipshave, and early mover KCC, has worked well together. We are very happy to supply KCC with a solution aiding in their pursuit of very ambitions sustainability goals. The savings obtained using ITCH makes an impressive ROI”, says Eirik Eide, Chief Commercial Officer at Shipshave.


Returning customers = Happy customers

Stolt Tankers has successfully completed an in-transit hull cleaning trial using Shipshave’s ITCH (In-Transit Cleaning of Hulls) on board the Stolt Acer (pictured) as she sailed from Port Said, Egypt to Algeciras, Spain.

Biofouling on ships’ hulls is a major concern for shipping companies as it not only increases fuel consumption, but can also lead to the transfer of invasive species to non-native waters. In transit hull cleaning gently cleans the hull more regularly than manual cleaning by divers. The reduction in the amount of drag due to biofouling consequently decreases fuel consumption.

Energy and Conservation Manager at Stolt Tankers, Jose Gonzalez Celis said: “The results of the initial trial were very positive. We saw a reduction of fuel consumption during the voyage, and this when combined with some of the other technological developments we are investigating will have a significant impact on our overall fuel consumption.”

Until more environmentally friendly fuels are readily available, Stolt Tankers is exploring several technical solutions to support the transition to a low-carbon maritime industry and plans to expand the Shipshave trial to five more ships. Stolt believes that a greener future will require the right combination of new technical solutions, technology and future fuels.

“Traditionally, ship owners tend to have a reactive approach to vessel maintenance, rather than taking preventive measures.” Adds Lucas Vos, President Stolt Tankers. “As part of our continuous improvement mindset we have turned that idea on its head and found that taking a more proactive stance before biofouling has a chance to settle on a ship’s hull is a far more sensible approach.”

“Reducing the marine growth on the underwater hull of our ships by applying Shipshave’s innovative solution is just one of the ways in which we are improving our energy efficiency with the aim of reducing our carbon intensity by 50% (relative to 2008 levels) by 2030.”

Shipshave’s ITCH performs hull cleaning while the vessel is sailing to prevent the early-stage growth of hull biofouling. DNV has performed a consumption assessment calculation and found that Shipshave’s technology can deliver fuel savings of around 10% when used regularly. The crew of the Stolt Acer also reported that the device was easy to use, clean and maintain.

Stolt Tanker’s full release can be accessed here:

Supply chain of shipping

Shipshave tries to stay on top of members of the supply chain in shipping’s different approaches when it comes to pursuit of sustainable operations.

As a supplier to the industry of sea going transportation, we are impressed of the efforts implemented.

Access the full article via this link:

Development testing and introduction for new Shipshave employees

Shipshave has not posted in conjunction with development testing in a while. That’s not due to not testing, but this time we have a chance to introduce 2 new members of our team while testing and that deserves a post.

Ivan getting ready to test

Charlie preparing deployment

Shipshave’s outreach is growing

Charlie has broad experience from the marine industry not limited to technical ship-management and from a major marine paint manufacturer. He also has a Specialist Diploma in Data Science – Artificial Intelligence.

Please welcome Charlie!

Shipshave’s organization is complemented

Ivan Rafoss joined Shipshave as Operations Manager on August 1st. It will be challenging to keep the office space that tidy in the time to come.

Please welcome Ivan!

A high value pilot customer has completed the 1st phase of verification of ITCH’s efficiency. Grooming only the starboard side, at the end of the vessel’s docking schedule, a visual and comparative approach was set.

ITCH was operated 3 times prior to dry docking the vessel late December 2021. Comparing port side to starboard clearly shows the removal of the green and white microfouling.

The 2nd phase of the verification will take place once microfouling has established on the fresh coat of paint. Thereafter ITCH will be used on both sides where the fuel economy will be compared to 1-2 sister vessels in identical trade.

Fuel consumption assessment by DNV

DNV’s objective was to assess if the use of ITCH of the wetted surface of the vertical sides has affected the speed-power of the Bulk Carrier. The evaluation is based on noon report data. AIS data for the vessel is used to extract hindcast data with information about wind, waves and current.

The reduction in fuel oil consumption of -10% due to partial hull cleaning has been derived thereof.

Shipshave is very pleased to be presenting here within the identified savings obtained by the use of our In-Transit Cleaning of Hulls (ITCH). We belive that the ITCH is a means to improve the vessels CII-rating and should be considered when compiling the enhanced SEEMP.

The Owner of the vessel in question has elected to remain unnamed, hence the masking of the vessel ID in the image.