South Korea’s Hyundai Merchant Marine (HMM) has deployed underwater robots to help clean the hull of its vessels.

HMM has partnered with a domestic manufacturer of underwater robots, Tas Global, for the project.

Barnacles, seaweed, moss and other matter causes fouling on the hull, which leads to vehicle speed reduction and higher fuel consumption due to additional friction.

To boost fuel efficiency and reduce greenhouse gases, shipping companies carry out periodic underwater hull cleaning with the help of divers.

Using robots would prevent industrial accidents and protect ocean life.

A number of countries around the world have banned in-water vessels cleaning as it poses a higher risk of transfer of aquatic invasive species and toxic hull paints that destroy the marine ecosystem.

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The robots collect the fouling on the hull and transfer it to shore refining facilities, using a filtration system on the main body.

The technology helps to reduce associated environmental hazards. It also leads to up to 40% lower costs, reduced working hours and improved cleaning processes that do not damage the hull coatings.

In January 2019, HMM signed a sales contract to acquire a 50% stake in PSA Hyundai Pusan New-Port Terminal (PHPNT) Pier 4 in Busan.

The investment made HMM a co-owner of PHPNT with PSA International, each holding a 50% stake in the terminal.

In 2018, HMM unveiled plans to order 20 new eco-friendly and highly efficient mega containerships.

HMM intended to deploy the new vessels in the Asia-North Europe and US East coast trades respectively.