Norwegian technology company Shipshave is building its global reach with a new regional office for the Mediterranean.

The developer of a robotic hull-cleaning system is opening up in Athens as a response to growing demand, it said.

Shipshave’s in-transit cleaning of hulls (ITCH) solution has clients like Stolt Tankers, Teekay Tankers and Klaveness Combination Carriers.

The company wants to be close to what it calls “an important market”.

“Greek shipowners operate a large part of the world fleet and have vessels that are in the ideal operational segment for the ITCH system,” said chief executive Aage Hoejmark.

The Athens office will be led by newly appointed sales and marketing director for the Mediterranean, Argyris Michaletos.

“By establishing an office in Athens with our own staff, rather than acting through an agent, we are signalling that we are here for the long term and that we want to work closely with local owners and operators to help them enhance the operational efficiency and environmental performance of their fleets,” Hoejmark added.

ITCH involves a semi-autonomous hull-cleaning robot that is deployed from a portable winch on deck by the crew.

It uses soft brushes that swipe up and down the hull underwater to remove fouling during the voyage in an operation that takes about five hours for a handysize.

This reduces drag in the water and improves hull performance to cut fuel consumption and emissions, while also avoiding offhire for yard stops.

Heart of the industry

“The proximity to key players in the industry facilitates stronger partnerships, streamlined logistics and faster decision-making processes. Additionally, being in the heart of the shipping industry fosters market intelligence, enabling Shipshave to stay ahead of trends and competitors,” the CEO said.

Shipshave is ramping up its operation.

The aim is to be present in major shipping centres in line with the growth ambitions of the Stavanger-based start-up.

There is already a Singapore office covering the Asia Pacific region.

“In order to grow fast, we need to be able to recruit global talent. We are also aware it is important to be close to both new and existing customers by having a local market presence,” Hoejmark concluded.