Photo: Courtesy: Nippon Paint Marine

Nippon Paint Marine features new diverless hull inspection tool

Nippon Paint Marine has developed a new hull inspection tool that eliminates the need for divers or remotely operated vehicles.

A single inspector can now perform underwater inspection of a ship’s hull coating on dry land or from a boat.

The NPM ‘Hull Monitor System’ uses GoPro camera technology attached to a 10-metre telescopic pole to inspect the in-water condition of a vessel’s antifouling paint.

A live video feed relays to the operator’s smart phone for real-time monitoring and recording.

The entire setup can also fit into a small case and be as a regular luggage on an aircraft.

NPM said it has already inspected dozens of vessels using this device.

Nippon Paint Marine technical manager Atsuhiro “Hiro” Yamashita said it has reduced paint inspection timescales and associated costs considerably.

“With the limitation of the pole length, it might not be able to cover entire underwater surface of the vessel, however the video image brought from the system was good enough to evaluate the underwater coating system as, in most cases, the areas around, and a certain depth from the waterline, show the most severe condition for underwater and antifouling coating systems.”

NPN specifically needed a quick, reliable, portable and cost-effective underwater inspection system without the need for divers or ROVs.

The development of small, digital underwater hobby cameras enabled the coatings leader to develop and tailor the system.

The camera can record 4,000 hours of high-definition video with real-time monitoring possible via a smartphone.

The method has been especially beneficial in the development of new underwater coating products.

“By using our own underwater inspection tools, we are able to make much quicker assessment on the performance of new coating systems more effectively, rather than sending divers down,” Yamashita also noted.