World's First: Drone Inspects Oil Tank on FPSO

By Curious

Cyberhawk Innovations has completed its first ever remotely operated aerial vehicle inspection of a cargo oil tank on an operational FPSO.

GRYPHON A - IMO 8920309

Image: shipspotting / Ria Maat

The world-first inspection took place on board the Gryphon A FPSO owned and operated by Maersk Oil in the U.K. North Sea. Like 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 who are suspended on ropes to inspect the tank structure, focusing on areas of high stress such as stiffeners, brackets, bracing, webs and stringers.

World's First: Drone Inspects Oil Tank on FPSO

Image: maerskoil

One of Maersk Oil’s main priorities was to reduce the human risk factors which are presented by rope access which include working at height for sustained periods of time as well as working in confined spaces.

Inspecting the tank with Cyberhawk’s drone 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, says Cyberhawk. The inspection of the critical components of the tank was completed within a day, in comparison with rope access which would usually take between three to four days for the same workscope.

This inspection technique can now be applied to all large internal tanks on vessels such as FPSOs, bulk carriers and tankers.