Lloyd’s Register has awarded certification for a survey conducted by a Remote Operated Vehicle (ROV) following a successful classification survey in Puttgarden, Germany carried out by Stein Maritime Consulting, marking a historic moment for commercial passenger vessel inspection and maritime digitalisation.

The survey was carried out using a Norwegian underwater drone system, which is able to inspect a vessels’ outer hull and its associated components to verify seaworthiness. As a result of the successful survey, LR has awarded an In-Water Survey (IWS) Statement for Passenger Ship Safety Certificate renewal, making LR one of the only classification societies to accept ROV inspection for periodical IWS and UWE surveys of commercial passenger vessels with non-conventional propeller systems.

Remote surveys offer a cost effective and efficient alternative to those which are carried out with divers and are primarily suited to Azipod vessels without a propeller shaft, which are common in the ferry and cruise sector. 

“This is a landmark moment for classification and maritime digitalisation and one that LR is immensely proud to be a part of,” said Wojtek Nazar, LR’s Senior Surveyor for Northeast Germany. “Remote survey’s allow shipowners and operators to obtain agile certification for their vessels, saving on costs and time. At LR we see a future where these efficient ROV surveys are widely used, alongside the traditional and thorough hull inspections which have been carried out by divers for decades.” He added. 

Michael Stein, who piloted the ROV during the IWS, commented, “Micro ROV systems have proven to be a valuable tool for underwater inspections and are finally accepted by the shipping market. The class acceptance of a remote vessel survey will change the market towards unmanned, cost-effective, fast classifications and opens the door for further maritime digitalisation.” 

The CEO of Stein Maritime Consulting and co-founder of Vesselity Maritime Analytics added: “2023 marks the start of a new era in underwater data management. EEXI/CII regulations let constant ship monitoring become crucial and unmanned micro-drones can do this job efficiently. Harvesting and applying underwater data of the vessel’s hull will be crucial for a sustainable transport service and we are the first company to serve this newly open market with a holistic service including global ROV inspections, a cloud-based data management system and integrated AI analysis for marine fouling assessment.”