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 source of power and approx. 1 square meter on the foredeck for the winch. Secure the winch and Shipshave ITCH is practically 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.

This image of ITCH v.1 on a down stroke clearly shows the cleaned area above the unit and the adjacent virgin biofouling. The hull is a Platform Support Vessel operated for 3 years since the previous cleaning.


The crew first set up the upper- and lower water depths via the Shipshave software.

Then the lightweight ITCH robot is ready to be deployed into the sea while in transit. A crew member operates the winch. Once the vertical side is covered, the ITCH is retrieved. The crew member then changes the setting of the ITCH between port/starboard and repeats the operation on the other side of the hull.

The integrated video camera records the cleaning process and results.

This simple process allows the crew to clean the hull in hours while the ship is in service.



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

Operations cost

  • Clean proactively and save fuel
  • Avoid downtime sailing to approved ports
  • Avoid scheduling with contractors' complex logistics
  • Keep operations & maintenace cost below 250USD per cleaning
  • Save hull inspection charges with onboard video camera

Risk and limitations

Low weight and hydrodynamic efficiency makes ITCH  safe to deploy. ITCH cannot reach the propeller by design. But the low weight means even direct impact will not affect a propeller. Shipshave can clean the foreship, 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.