Tuesday, January 23, 2018

News: Martek gets smart with SUITS


Innovative Rotherham company, Martek Marine, has launched another new service to improve safety on board ships - using drones to inspect confined spaces.

The Manvers firm is one of the world leaders in the supply of safety and environmental monitoring systems for the shipping industry.

Called SUITS (Shipboard Unmanned Inspection of Tanks Solution), the Martek solution improves the safety of surveyors and crew members when inspecting tanks, eliminating the need to enter hazardous, confined spaces on board.

Traditional tank inspections often require units to be drained, cleaned and ventilated before surveying crews could be permitted access. The new system can deliver a full HD video survey in minutes, without the need for personnel entry into the tank or hold.

SUITS combines the latest in enclosed space drone technology and virtual reality software allowing the operator to deliver a collision tolerant drone through a hatch or confined space entry and then remotely control it via a control console and video screen – the full inspection can be carried out from a safe location.


Inspecting a confined space can present the danger of an oxygen-depleted atmosphere or the ingress of another toxic gas allied to the risks of working at height.

Paul Luen, CEO of Martek Group, said: "SUITS will revolutionise confined space inspection to make operations safer, faster and ultimately cheaper."

In one example, ship operator CMA CGM, surveyed the two ballast tanks in its 323 metre long vessel, ANDROMEDA for general integrity and corrosion status. Usually, the inspections require three to four men and extensive safety equipment such as gas and oxygen monitoring detectors, ropes, flashlights, and harnesses. Using drones, three flights of ten minutes each with a single pilot were carried out for the inspection of one tank.

Starting with just £6,000 initial investment in one of RiDO's smallest business units, Martek has seen growth through focusing on disruptive innovation. It now employs over 60 people at purpose built premises in Adwick Park and its products can be found in vessels across the globe. It has expanded into different areas including the medical sector, supplying defibrillators to airlines and leisure and sport venues.

The company is making a splash with how it is pioneering the use of drones in the maritime industry. Last year, Martek was named as part of a €67m (£58m) contract with the European Maritime Safety Agency (EMSA) that sees Martek support the work of Coast Guards using drones.

Martek Marine website

Images: Martek Marine


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