Cyberhawk, a UK-based drone inspection specialist, has successfully completed its first full ABS Intermediate Hull Survey 4 on an oil tanker using UAVs.
Cyberhawk performed an inspection across 19 tanks onboard an oil tanker while at a shipyard in Singapore. This mission included 12 cargo oil tanks, two slop tanks and five ballast tanks.
The inspection also had to satisfy the US Coast Guard’s Critical Area Inspection Plan (CAIP) as the vessel was American flagged and operated in Alaskan waters.
The traditional method of inspection for this type of tanker would be to scaffold the inside of the tank and have ABS surveyors perform a visual survey and NDT technicians take thickness measurements. There are multiple liabilities associated with this type of working, from potential dropped objects caused by lowering equipment into the tank, to potential damage to the tank coating, to working at height in confined spaces.
Even with the new efficiencies provided by UAV inspection, NDT technicians were still required to take thickness readings to meet the ABS survey requirements for this class of vessel.
Cyberhawk is due to conduct its first proof of concept on a UT solution from UAVs that would negate the need for scaffolding, rope access technicians or rafting solutions for this type of tanker survey, during the summer.
Malcolm Connolly, technical director at Cyberhawk, said: “Since we conducted the first UAV tank inspection back in 2015, the take up of this solution has become increasingly adopted within the industry.
“These previous inspections, however, have only focused on capturing visual data of approximately 20 to 30 critical areas. To comply with ABS rules for this particular category of class survey, we required close up coverage of 100% of the tank’s internal frame structure at a resolution equivalent to a person viewing the surface at arm’s length.”
The Cyberhawk team completed more than 350 flights and collected over 600GB of data. The data is being hosted in iHawk, Cyberhawk’s cloud-based visual asset management software, which has been designed to host the huge volumes of data captured by UAVs or other sources and allow the user to access this data in a functional and intuitive way.
Chris Fleming, CEO at Cyberhawk, added: “UAVs and robotics in general have taken inspection to a new level thanks to the time, cost and safety benefits being proven every day. However, digitizing the data captured is a transformational step for the asset management industry.
“The days of PDF and paper reports are numbered, where reporting by exception and capturing data only on areas of concern is the standard. Technology advances, which allow digital data to be captured consistently on 100% of a structure, open the door for effective risk-based inspection (RBI) programmes.”