When to Use Diving Inspections in Port Maintenance?

The port industry’s business is surrounded by the challenges created by one element, water. Water works as the highway of marine transport, but as the world below waterline is invisible to us, there is always a need to reveal the hidden risks. Throughout the centuries the underwater world has intrigued us, and different techniques for diving has been developed already in the classical Roman times. In port maintenance it is important to know exactly what lies under water, so in this blog we discuss how diving can complement the modern 3D scanning technology.

Three benefits of modern 3D survey technologies

1. Save money

3D technologies, like sonar scanning or photogrammetry, are widely used due to their cost-effectiveness in surveying wide areas. When the port area consists of kilometers of quay, it is a tremendous work to get inspected by diving. Drive-by surveys with a survey vessel or a ROV cover wide areas quickly, so you save time and money.

2. Keep the business going

Sending people under water is always risky, so diving inspections require strict safety measures. The operations on the inspected quay are paused during the divers’ work to ensure their safety.

3D technologies don’t require sending people under water, only the equipment dive. Small and agile survey vessels can maneuver also during normal port operations when the work is scheduled according to the port’s timetable.

3. Get a comprehensive and georeferenced view of the assets

Port structures are large and complex, and the seabed also affects for example the load bearing capacity of a quay. 3D survey reveals not only the condition of structure in close detail, but the nearby seabed and possible erosion or empty space under the structure.

3D data in correct coordinate system helps enormously in asset management. The exact location of the observations or possible damages are known, which helps planning and executing the maintenance operations.


Three benefits of diving inspections

1. Take a closer look of damages

When an identified or a suspected damage is under water, diving is needed to get material samples to evaluate the criticality of the damage. Drilling sample confirms the state of the structure’s material, to determine for example how deep a rust damage is.

2. Check and repair at the same time

Divers can carry equipment and have the skills for repair work. While checking the condition of the structure, they can decide to repair the damage. The inspection and repair can be done at the same time, minimizing the need for repeated surveys.

3. Add information to 3D data

Sometimes the 3D data does not tell everything needed to plan the right maintenance procedures. A diver can take pictures, material samples or just check the area in more detail. Adding this information to the 3D model helps to make justified decisions.

Start with 3D data and complete with diving

As discussed above, in asset management it is beneficial to make the comprehensive 3D model of structures and adjacent seabed area by modern 3D scanning technologies and add pinpointed information from diving inspections. By using inspection techniques suitable for each phase of the asset’s life-cycle, you optimize the use of resources.

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