Working principle

Shipshave ITCH consists of a semi-autonomous hull cleaning robot tethered to a 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 is designed to be used before fouling becomes a real problem. It has however also proven to remove settled fouling.

Rigup

The Shipshave ITCH system can easily be hand-carried by the crew as one or two pieces of equipment. Before cleaning, the winch needs to be secured to the forecastle deck, connected to a power source and attached to the ITCH Robot. We aim for the ITCH to be easier to rig up than a high-pressure deck cleaning system.

Cleaning

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 downstroke 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.

Operation

The crew needs to first configure the robots upper- and lower depth settings using the ITCH Application.

They can then deploy the lightweight ITCH robot into the sea using the winch and wait for the vertical side of the ship to be cleaned. Once complete, the ITCH robot is retrieved from the water and the crew member can change the robots setting between port/starboard and repeat the operation on the other side of the hull.

The integrated video camera can be used to document the robots cleaning performance.

The integrated data capture system records the robots cleaning coverage which can be evaluated using the ITCH Application.

This simple process allows crews to clean the hull in hours while sailing to its next destination.

Environment

Shipshave ITCH allows the crew to clean the hull and dispose removed fouling far from shores. Fouling does not affect coasts when you clean in the oceans. Frequent cleaning with videos documents your fouling status and can 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 OPEX 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. 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.

To date, the largest vessels that our customers have cleaned are 238 meters long at depths up to 10.5 meters. We are however confident that the ITCH can go longer and deeper. The ITCH can be delivered with an explosion-proof air winch or a handy portable electrical winch.