Maritime safety is a key aspect of offshore practice. In order to avoid disasters and maintain crew and environmental safety, it is mandatory to perform certain routine checks to verify the integrity of marine facilities such as vessels, on a scheduled basis.
Classification societies act as regulatory bodies for these standard checks. They are responsible for controlling standards on behalf of insurers and they also control functions on behalf of the flag state.
In other words, classification societies carry out fair standards-based assessments of the integrity of marine vessels, with all stakeholders’ interests in mind. Such classification societies include DNV-GL, Lloyd’s Register, ABS, Bureau Veritas, etc.
Traditionally, these vessels are expected to dry-dock for inspection. A typical dry-docking process entails taking the ship to a shipyard for servicing operations.
The ship is brought to dry land so that the entire vessel hull (especially the part that is usually submerged) can be cleaned and inspected. However, this procedure entails considerable costs such as; downtime, additional travel time, out-of-production fuel cost, cost of inspection, etc.
A more efficient and cost-effective option for this mandatory hull inspection is Underwater Inspection In lieu of Dry-docking (UWILD) – an alternative to dry-docking.
UWILD involves carrying out a thorough inspection of the submerged part of the vessel hull while the vessel is operational (not dry-docked), using a remotely-operated vehicle (ROV), and/or using divers. The part of the vessel hull which is topsides (above the water line) can be inspected using rope access technicians.
UWILD is a safer, faster and cheaper alternative for the required hull inspections. The procedure is time-saving and cost efficient since it reduces downtime and eliminates the need for expensive dry-docking activities.
UWILD also enables a simultaneous cleaning and inspection operation in the working location.