South Korea-based Tas Global has commercialised a hull cleaning robot system, claimed to be the first in the world.

The robot is operated by various sensors as well as eight multi-facing cameras and is said to be the only robot currently capable of moving independently on curved surfaces while cleaning.

Tas Global’s hull cleaning robot attaches both strongly and softly to ships, either underwater or on the water surface.

Despite being 200kg, it can move smoothly by maintaining positive buoyancy.

It features an in-house developed portable filtration system that can clean microorganisms and microparticles in three stages.

Tas Global was selected by the South Korean Government to supervise the $13m (KRW16.3bn) research project, named Development of Technology for Processing Organisms Attached on Ship’s Hull, for five years.

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This project involved a number of institutions, including the Korea Research Institute of Ships and Ocean Engineering (KRISO), Korea Register (KR), Korea Maritime Institute (KMI), Snsys, and Proxy Healthcare.

HMM was the beneficiary organisation, while Korea Maritime University, Changwon University and Gyemyeong University were the commissioned institutions.

In a statement, Tas Global said: “Additionally, as an international treaty on cleaning ships in water using new technologies would be drafted and enacted jointly by International Maritime Organisation (IMO), United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) and Global Environment Facility (GEF) within three years, the successful performance of this assignment has become [more] crucial than ever.”

Earlier, the company joined the international industry association of IMO’s The GloFouling Partnerships Project as the ‘first in East Asia to set its environment-friendly robot technology as an international standard’.

Last year, Tas Global signed a contract with HMM for robotic underwater ship cleaning and diving works.

The company is also working in collaboration with international shipping firms, including CMA CGM and Inchcape.

Tas Global has registered more than 30 patents in 16 nations.