Norwegian cleantech firm ECOSUBSEA has won contracts to provide hull cleaning services in ports of Antwerp and Zeebrugge in Belgium.

After cleaning more than 500 vessels in Southampton and Norway, the company’s hull cleaning system was approved for use in the two Northern European ports.

The company said that its system can remove all hull fouling from the water and it meets strict environmental requirements.

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

The system also removes the fouling and pumps it ashore via a filtration process plant, where it is deposited and used to produce biogas.

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

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ECOSUBSEA system helps to cut the vessel’s air pollution by up to 15% and reduces fuel costs from 5% to 15% for shipowners.

ECOSUBSEA founder Klaus Østervold said: “Our operation in Antwerp and Zeebrugge represents a significant milestone for ECOSUBSEA. Both Antwerp and Zeebrugge have been frontrunners within environmental regulations and, for us, it has been important to provide a solution fully complying with the strictest standards.

“In addition, Antwerp and Zeebrugge are large ports, serving many of our existing customers but also many potential new customers.”

Shipping firms such as WWL Ocean, Carnival and Hoegh Autoliners are already using ECOSUBSEA system for hull cleaning.

Port of Antwerp technical environment manager Luc Van Espen said: “We are happy to welcome companies such as ECOSUBSEA that have the technology available to clean ship’s hulls in a sustainable way.

“This not only preserves our dock waters from being polluted by alien species and heavy metals but also offers a new service to our shipping lines, in a way that even sometimes ships deviate towards Antwerp in order to be cleaned, bunkered and repaired at the same time.”