Singapore Wants to Start Using Aerial Drones for Remote Ship Inspections

ship anchorage
Photo: Zheltikov Dmitry / Shutterstock

The Maritime and Port Authority of Singapore has unveiled plans to leverage aerial drones for carrying out ship inspections beginning as soon as early next year.

The announcement was one of several service and training enhancements for Singapore-registered ships and maritime companies announced by the MPA on Friday.

The MPA says that new technologies such as aerial drones armed with cameras and ship inspecting robots are increasingly being used for ship surveys. As a result, the MPA has conducted several trials using drones to survey cargo tanks of ships, and it is in the process of developing the acceptance criteria for the use of such remote inspection techniques on board Singapore-registered ships.

“Such methods of remote inspection are safer and can save time and cost for ship-owners as it eliminates the need for traditional method of survey such as erecting staging in the cargo tanks. Marine surveyors also do not have to risk their lives by having to climb high places or be exposed to adverse conditions to check for defects,” the MPA said in a statement.

The MPA first revealed that it conducted a trial for the inspection of ship tanks and holds using drones in September.

The acceptance criteria for the use of drones for ship inspections will be ready by first quarter next year, according to the MPA.

Currently, more than 4,600 ships flying the Singapore flag.

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