Maersk Oil in world first as drone completes internal tank inspection on FPSO


LIVINGSTON, Scotland -- Cyberhawk Innovations, a leader in aerial inspection using remotely operated aerial vehicles (ROAV), has completed its first ever ROAV inspection of a cargo oil tank on an operational FPSO.

Cyberhawk Innovations undertaking an internal tank inspection for Maersk Oil.

The world-first took place on board the Gryphon FPSO, owned and operated by Maersk Oil in the UK North Sea. Similarly to other FPSO operators, Maersk Oil has requirements to visually inspect cargo tanks for integrity, damage assessment and class certification. This type of inspection is usually conducted by rope access technicians (RAT), who are suspended on ropes to inspect the tank structure, focusing on areas of high stress, such as stiffeners, brackets, bracing, webs and stringers.

One of Maersk Oil’s main priorities was to reduce the human risk factors presented by rope access, which includes working at height for sustained periods of time as well as working in confined spaces. Inspecting the tank with Cyberhawk’s ROAV allowed Maersk Oil to undertake a quick and safe audit of the tank, in turn allowing them to identify and more efficiently plan for any possible contact-based inspections in both this and other tanks.

Using an ROAV, also known as a UAV or drone, for the cargo oil tank inspection also has significant saving potential per tank compared with the traditional method of rope access. This inspection technique can now be applied to all large internal tanks, on vessels such as FPSOs, bulk carriers and tankers.

Cyberhawk mobilized an experienced two-man ROAV team, consisting of an ROAV pilot and inspection engineer. The inspection of the critical components of the tank was completed within a day, in comparison with rope access, which would usually take between 3 to 4 days for the same workscope.

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