Specifically, the Class conducted tests and established proof of concept for the most advanced inspection techniques to confirm that the technologies are providing safer and even better quality evidence to conduct and support the survey process while also offering benefits and advantages for ship-owners and ship-managers.

The inspection took place on a bulk carrier and consisted of close-up inspections and ultrasonic thickness measurements (UTM) conducted by the drone in two cargo hold spaces. The required prior agreement from the flag authority was confirmed – all the more necessary as the ship is subject to the IMO Code for the Enhanced Survey Programme (ESP).

Moreover, BV confirmed that the aerial drones are mature and ready to take place in surveys on an operational basis.

Thus, the drones can provide:

  • Safer conditions for the surveyor and the operator who are not exposed to the risks of working at height nor, necessarily, will they be  required to enter into the confined spaces for the inspection.
  • Time saving during the inspection.
  • The potential for better quality evidence when assessing the condition of the hull.
  • Optimised maintenance costs and planning by reducing ship’s immobilisation and optimising the preparation before the repairs.

Highlighting the importance of drones in shipping operations, Laurent Leblanc, Senior Vice-President, Technical & Operations commented that

Above all drones provide a level of detail and new level of safety that will benefit both our clients and our surveyors...Drone surveys and our remote survey capability and service delivery are really just starting to make an impact on our clients.