How Is Marine Growth Removal In Offshore Structures Done?

By Subodh / April 2, 2014

Engineers build offshore structures to exacting specifications that account for many of the environmental factors that impact their structural integrity and performance. Engineers who quantify the effects of these environmental factors through careful research give companies that operate in the offshore environment a wealth of information regarding the useful lifespan of their offshore structures as well as fluctuations in the structure’s performance capacity.

Marine growth is but a single example of these environmental factors that impact offshore structures by increasing its hydrodynamic loading as well as its weight and diameter over time. Although environmental scientists and engineers always account for the ubiquitous marine growth, the rate of growth and the extent of its subsequent effect on the structure is slightly less predictable.

Many organizations operating offshore opt to have marine growth removed to reduce this uncertainty. Here are some marine growth removal methods employed by companies that operate offshore.

Scuba Diving Cleaning Crew

scuba diving crew

Although most people associate scuba diving with the leisurely water sport enjoyed while on vacation to exotic locales, the commercial scuba diving profession holds a solid position within the offshore oil community. Besides utilizing the services of these commercial divers to inspect and collect data for submerged offshore structures, many organizations employ the divers to periodically clean the marine growth from their structures.

This method of marine growth removal is effective, but it is not a very efficient solution to the problem of marine growth on offshore structures. Frequent removal of the marine growth by these divers is expensive and far from energy efficient. Less frequent removal of the ever-present marine growth results in the same risks to the offshore structures between cleaning episodes.

Implementing Artificial Intelligence For Mechanical Marine Growth Clean Up

When utilizing human effort is inefficient or otherwise unsuitable, organizations across all industries often turn to robotic artificial intelligence for solutions, and offshore organizations are no different. Instead of employing scuba divers to accomplish mundane cleaning tasks, certain inventors crafted their own robotic cleaning crew for effective marine growth removal in offshore structures. Although the creators of this mechanical cleaning crew invested research and development funds to bring this idea to life, offshore companies save money in the long run by eliminating the need to hire special divers for this routine cleaning task.

Using A Material Solution For Repelling Marine Growth On Offshore Structures

Some offshore oil, port authorities, and other maritime organizations consult with material scientists and metallurgy specialists to design, develop, and build offshore structures that inherently discourage the proliferation of marine organisms. Typical materials that compose offshore structures include certain metals and metal alloys. Often times these natural materials offer an ideal surface for marine organisms to attach and grow.

However, the use of metals like copper on offshore structures tend to retard the attachment of marine life. Also, material scientists partner with offshore structure manufacturers to compose special coatings for offshore structures that help eliminate marine growth on the structures. The use of these coatings allow offshore structures to maintain the strength of the materials used in their original design while protecting the structures from marine growth as well as corrosion.

Sustainable Marine Growth Removal Systems

Many times changing the material composition of offshore structures is a complicated and expensive task because of the need for extensive engineering research and certain supply chain agreements. Some marine system manufacturers realized that there was an environmentally friendly, sustainable way to keep offshore structures clean without changing the material composition of the structures.

These organizations created marine growth removal systems that simply fit around the legs of offshore structures and mechanically removed marine organisms using the power of ocean waves and wind-driven currents.