Working principle

Shipshave ITCH consists of a semi-autonomous hull cleaning robot tethered to a portable winch on the forecastle deck. The robot harvests propulsion energy to stay attached to the hull and swipe up and down. Soft brushes clean the hull under water using a defined pattern with controlled brush forces.

Shipshave ITCH should be used before fouling becomes a real problem. It has however also proven to remove settled fouling.

Rig up

The Shipshave ITCH system is hand-carried by the seafarers. Before operations commence, the winch should be secured to a strong point on the forecastle deck, connected to a power source and the ITCH robot tied at the end of the rope.

We aim for the ITCH to as easy to rig up as a high-pressure cleaning system.

Proactive grooming vs. retroactive cleaning

ITCH is designed to remove early stage biofouling.

The controlled force 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 downstroke clearly shows the cleaned area above the unit and the adjacent untouched  establised biofouling. The image is from a Platform Supply Vessel operated for 3 years since the previous hull cleaning.


The seafarers should power up the ITCH robot. Deploy the lightweight ITCH robot using the winch. Once one side has been completed, the ITCH robot should be retrieved and the settings changed between port/starboard.  Repeat the operation on the fouled side.

The integrated video camera can be used to document the robots cleaning performance. The data capture system records the robots cleaning coverage which can be evaluated using the ITCH Application.

This simple process allows your seafarers to clean a Handy-size hull in just 5 hours while sailing to the next destination.


Shipshave ITCH allows the seafarers to clean the hull and dispose removed fouling far from shores. Fouling does not affect coast lines when you clean at mid-ocean. Frequent cleaning with videos documents your fouling status and can ease communication with port authorities.


  • Low CapEx investment to comply with IMOs CII
  • Clean proactively and save fuel
  • Avoid off-hire deviations to approved ports for cleaning
  • No scheduling nor complex logistics required
  • OPEX well below 250USD per cleaning
  • Inspection the hull with onboard video camera

Risk and limitations

Low weight and hydrodynamic efficiency makes ITCH  safe to deploy. ITCH cannot reach the propeller by design. 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. Typically you may cover about 80-90% of the parallell area.

Shipshave delivers two types of portable winch systems.  An explosion-proof pneumatic version, or a frequency controlled electrical winch.

We are confident that the ITCH can go longer and deeper than already verified.