New government guidelines issued for using drones to inspect mega-sized vessels

Park Sae-jin Reporter() | Posted : April 30, 2021, 10:31 | Updated : April 30, 2021, 10:31

[Courtesy of the Ministry of Oceans and Fisheries]

SEOUL -- New government guidelines were issued on the operation of drones and unmanned robots in inspecting a mega-sized vessel. Demands for affordable vessel inspection methods are growing in South Korea's logistics industry, and the new guidelines would help ship operators save time and costs.

South Korean docks want different vessel inspections because of a coronavirus pandemic that prompted docks around the world to suspend inspections from time to time. South Korean vessel operators used to inspect and repair ships at docks located in Malaysia and Singapore.

The Ministry of Oceans and Fisheries said in a statement on April 30 that it has issued new guidelines governing drones and unmanned robots. It currently takes two or three days to fully inspect a 150,000-ton vessel with a hull taller than 20 meters (65 feet) for about 10 million won ($9,026). If drones are used, it will take a day for five million won. New guidelines will take effect on May 1.

"Ship operators will be able to carry out inspections more effectively and safely thanks to new guidelines on the operation of remote inspection devices," Choi Jong-woon, an official at the maritime ministry's engineering bureau, was quoted as saying. Conventional inspections involve heavy equipment including cranes and hook-and-ladder trucks, and workers were prone to safety accidents.

Drones and unmanned robots are used in South Korea for the inspection of places to reach hard, such as bridges, factory chimneys and high-rise buildings. Robots are used for monitoring enclosed spaces such as underground facilities and tunnels that connect city infrastructures.

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