The West Australian Government owned Common User Facility is a 40 Ha integrated facility with an open access policy for multiple users. It has been operating since 2003 and is part of the Fabrication Precinct of the Australian Marine Complex located at Henderson Western Australia. It is a safe and secure location for fabrication, assembly, commissioning, maintenance and repair activities. As part of the facility there is a 12,00T lift capacity floating dock which has been operating since 2009.
The floating dock has been used to dock submarines and frigates for the Royal Australian Navy and numerous commercial vessels to conduct repairs, maintenance and hull surveys,
Not long after the dock had been launched it was noticed that Bio fouling was significant on the underwater hull. Growth was rapid and although a cathodic protection system was installed on the dock to prevent steel corrosion fouling was heavy.
At first divers using plastic scrapers were used to physically scrape off the fouling and although the weed growth was easily removed, shell growth was difficult and time consuming. We were approached by Franmarine who advised they were developing a cart with revolving brushes to scrape off the bio fouling. A trial was carried out which proved highly successful. All manner of bio fouling is removed without damaging the underwater paint system.
The envirocart is now used as per our programmed maintenance system every three months to clean the underwater hull as it is highly efficient and significantly reduces the time taken to clean the 6,200m2 underwater hull. There have also been significant reductions in maintenance costs.
AMCM have been approached by a number of Marine operators enquiring about docking their vessels but because the doc availability is limited, alternative hull cleaning methods need to be undertaken. The Envirocart would be a significant enhancement to the maritime industry as a product that cant not only clean the hull so efficiently but also reduces maintenance costs, this can only assist marine operators to conduct business.
Floating Dock Manager