Class society Korean Register offers aerial, submarine drone ship surveys

CLASSIFICATION society Korean Register(KR) is offering low-cost aerial and underwater drone inspection of ships as less costly and time-consuming than traditional methods, reports London's Tanker Operator.

KR said that the drones offer the biggest cost saving in situations where scaffolding would have been needed for an inspection.

Scaffolding can take three days to erect and two days to dismantle for a close-up survey of a cargo hold costing around US$36,000. A drone survey requires no scaffolding and offers significantly reduced costs.

"The footage will still be analysed by KR's expert surveyors, but different drone types will be used to assess thickness measurement and conduct more intensely detailed surveys," said the company class society.

Before launching the service, KR completed extensive trials using camera-equipped drones, testing them to confirm flying stability, resistance to frequency interference and quality of footage.

Said KR chairman and CEO Lee Jeong-kie: "The service offers significant advantages saving time and capital resources, as well as increasing efficiency and safety at the worksite."

The surveys are conducted on board in many of the high risk and difficult to access areas. Using unmanned aerial vehicles or underwater remotely operated vehicle drones, they can easily and safely explore confined spaces with restricted access, poor ventilation or environmental high-risk areas, or parts of the ship which would require scaffolding for surveyor, said KR.