Drone inspection of a cargo tank

Jul 3, 2023 | Featured Article, News

A combined visual and UT (ultrasonic testing) drone platform could mean a welcome goodbye to rope access and scaffolding, explains Simon Ruddick, Director at Marine Inspection Services Ltd. Ever since he started out as a trainee in a local UK company in the late 80s, Ruddick has been inspecting and surveying ships for a living. He is now a leading expert in visual surveying and non-destructive testing (NDT) of ships and offshore installations. 


All commercial ships are built to the standards of class societies, laws and international conventions, and they are surveyed repeatedly for compliance. A vessel simply cannot operate without being certified by a class society.

Ultimately, the owner is the one responsible for the safety and integrity of the vessel and the staff. But tremendous responsibility rests on the classification societies, and the limit to their liability is a matter of continuous discussion. To maintain a reliable classification process, it is vital that they remain an independent third party and avoid conflicts of interest. For example, they must be able to demand high-quality inspection data of good coverage as a basis for their assessment, without being responsible for producing the data themselves.

Therefore, the vessel owner must arrange for the inspection data to be produced by someone with the necessary expertise, equipment and focus, such as inspection companies.

It’s a job that involves entering enormous, emptied cargo hulls, cargo tanks, ballast tanks and other enclosed spaces to assess their structural integrity. You must know what you’re doing, to gather all information in a safe manner. Got an inspection job that is dark, dirty and dangerous and where tremendous values are at stake? That’s when you call companies like Marine Inspection Services.

Drone inspections are an important safety measure as they can replace lots of hours of working at height. Drone inspections also save lots of time and money and allow for much more flexible and efficient inspection schemes.

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