Underwater Robots

A Key Tool for Enhancing Marine Biosecurity

Marine biosecurity is a critical issue, especially for ports that handle a vast amount of international trade. The introduction of non-native marine species can cause significant ecological and economic damage to the region. 

One way to prevent this is by using underwater robots as prevention to enhance marine biosecurity measures in ports. Invasive species are becoming a global concern. According to a study, the number of non-native species in European waters has increased to almost 1,300 in the last 20 years.

Transfer of Invasive Species

Biofouling plays a significant role in the transfer of invasive aquatic species from one region to another. Biofouling refers to the build-up of tiny organisms, including microorganisms, plants, algae, or small animals, on surfaces that are in contact with water, such as ships’ hulls and other wetted areas. Like ports and harbours. Addressing biofouling improves marine biosecurity and hull performance. 

Marine fouling will occur on any surface submersed in the sea like ships, port infrastructure, etc.

Ship hulls provide a diverse habitat for marine organisms​

When ships move between different waterways, they can unintentionally transport invasive species that are attached to their hulls and niche areas. These species can then spread and damage the marine ecosystem in the new location. Recently, two large cruise ships have been denied entry into the ports of Australia due to biofouling issues on their hulls. Therefore, hull management is important as biofouling is a silent threat to your vessel hull.

Ship Hull
According to a study conducted in the Mediterranean Sea, colonization of non-native species occurs quickly even after ships have undergone professional cleaning. The researchers suggest that this is probably because certain niche areas are overlooked during the cleaning process and they recommend that these areas should receive particular attention.

Hull and niche areas that need special attention are:

Vessel inspection areas

Sentinus is an ideal tool to inspect niche areas of vessels

  • Close Inspections: It can perform inspections as close as 20 cm from the inspection target.
  • Full Rotational Freedom: It can inspect the asset in any orientation that fits your inspection needs and go with ease in the curvacious angles of the hull. 
  • Detailed Inspections: Equipped with eight cameras and 14-lumen lights, Sentinus is perfect to capture clear footage even in bad waters. 

Vessel Inspection - Hull & Niche Areas by Sentinus

How Authorities can benefit from underwater robots in ports

Underwater robots offer numerous advantages for authorities operating in ports. The port environment is characterized by a significant number of artificial hard surfaces, such as break walls, pontoons, pilings, buoys, and markers. In tropical regions, invasive species reproduce throughout the year and these species follow a particular pattern of travel, including movement from:

biofouling transfer
Utilizing underwater robots can assist authorities in monitoring and managing these marine life, as well as inspecting and maintaining port infrastructure. According to a study, “Biofouling is a major vector for the spread of marine alien species in the Mediterranean and needs regulation. To prevent further spreading, ports should be cleaned and incoming vessels to the ports should be screened to determine if they require professional cleaning.”

Benefits of Using Underwater Robots:

  • Improved Efficiency: The use of underwater inspection robots allows for quick and accurate inspection of underwater structures, reducing the time and effort required for manual inspections. For example, the authorities may need to rely on diving companies for the inspection of incoming vessels resulting in more delays and additional headaches with paperwork due to the involvement of the diver. Our Sentinus underwater robot is just 16 kg in weight and can be deployed by one person, and using computer-driven navigation, the survey can be initiated and completed autonomously.
  • Enhanced Safety: Inspecting underwater structures can be dangerous for humans. Underwater inspection robots eliminate this risk by performing inspections in a safe and controlled manner.
  • Cost Savings: Traditional inspection methods can be expensive due to the need for specialized equipment and personnel. Using underwater inspection robots can reduce the cost of inspections significantly. With eight onboard cameras, the Sentinus robot provides a comprehensive view from multiple angles, enabling the acquisition of data across a wide field of vision with a single sweep. This feature enables users to save time by obtaining the complete the picture in one go!
  • Improved Accuracy: Underwater inspection robots can collect data with high precision, providing more accurate and detailed information compared to traditional inspection Sentinus is a next-generation tool that can perform its autopilot functions as close as 20 cm from the inspection target, for better results in bad water. Multiple angles are great for 3D model conversions.

3D Models Technology – Blue Atlas Robotics

Our robots deliver clear visual outputs for vessels that can be converted into interactive 3D models, facilitating effective decision-making for maintenance. The robots capture high quality inspection data that can be transformed into detailed 3D models, providing extraordinary visibility of the asset from every angle. 

This advanced feature enables users to zoom in on specific areas and obtain a comprehensive understanding of the vessel’s condition, aiding in the identification of maintenance requirements.