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Norwegian cleantech company ECOsubsea has secured permission from the country’s marine regulator Rijkswaterstaat to provide hull cleaning services to ships at Dutch ports.

The permission will enable the robotic hull cleaning system manufacturer to conduct automated hull cleaning of vessels at all Dutch ports, including the Port of Rotterdam, which is one of the biggest ports in Europe.

ECOsubsea believes that Rijkswaterstaat’s approval will help it to further strengthen its market position. The company has already received permissions to offer hull cleaning services at Ghent, Antwerp, Zeebrugge, and Southampton ports.

ECOsubsea technology includes a remotely operated vehicle (ROV) that cleans the ship’s hull, moving across the surface like a big lawnmower.

The system removes the fouling without damaging the hull coatings and pumps it ashore through a filtration process plant, where it is processed and deposited.

The system cleans the hull carefully without creating any pollution and without posing any risk to contaminate coastal waters.

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ECOsubsea founder Klaus Østervold said: “Ports want evidence that our system works. We can now give it to them. They also want evidence that vessels have active hull biofouling plans, and we are helping operators and ports with the digital implementation of that too.

“At the end of last year, we were only in Southampton. Now we are in a growing number of ports, including Amsterdam and Rotterdam.”

Port of Rotterdam breakbulk business manager Irene Bennett said: “We recognise that efficient cleaning of ship hulls is better for the water quality in the port and reduces CO₂ emissions and fuel costs.

“The advantages of initiatives like ECOsubsea will enhance the sustainability of the entire transport chain. The Port of Rotterdam is therefore happy to promote initiatives that fit in well with our corporate social responsibility goals.”

Major shipping firms such as WWL Ocean, Carnival and Hoegh Autoliners have already used ECOsubsea robotic cleaning systems for hull cleaning.