Working principle

Shipshave ITCH is a semi-autonomous hull cleaning robot. A winch on the foredeck of the vessel tethers the robot. The robot harvests propulsion energy to clean the hull underwater. Soft brushes moves up and down the hull under water. It travels with a defined pattern with controlled brush forces.

Shipshave ITCH is supposed to be applied before fouling becomes a real problem. But it is proven also to remove settled fouling.


The Shipshave ITCH plug & play system is installed by the crew. It requires a 16 A socket and 1 m2 on the foredeck for the winch. Bolt the winch to the deck and the Shipshave ITCH is ready to commence operation.


ITCH removes all types of biofouling. The controlled forces and soft brushes cause minimal wear to antifouling paint, allowing more frequent cleaning. Shipshave also has a modular system that removes barnacles without paint damage.

The picture shows the cleaned and uncleaned hull after 2.5 years since last docking.

Operation and service

The crew deploys the lightweight Shipshave ITCH robot manually into the sea during sailing. A crew member starts the winch, waits till the job is complete and then retrieve the Shipshave ITCH again.

The crew member then changes the setting of the ITCH unit between port/starboard and repeats operation on the other side of the hull. This simple process allows a crew member to clean the hull in hours while the ship is in service.

The integrated video camera records the cleaning process and results. The computer interface is simple. All wear parts are easy to replace. The complete system can be airfreighted. The ITCH robot can be sent by courier to our lab for service.


Shipshave ITCH allows the crew to clean the hull and dispose removed fouling far from shores. Frequent cleaning with video evidence will ease communication with port authorities.

Operations cost

  • Clean proactively and save fuel
  • Avoid downtime sailing to approved ports
  • Avoid scheduling with contractors
  • Keep operations & maintenace cost below 1000USD per cleaning
  • Save hull inspection charges with onboard video camera

Risk and limitations

Low weight and hydrodynamic efficiency makes ITCH  safe to deploy by hand. ITCH cannot reach the propeller by design. But the low weight means even direct impact will not affect a propeller. Shipshave can clean the bow, but not the bulb. It will clean near to the propeller, but not the rudder or propeller. Typically you may cover about 80-90% of the hull area.