The ORCA can lift a 32 kg bag of oily sludge, scale, rust, mud and other debris 30 metres up in four seconds. Bagging sludge in the hold means faster and more efficient evacuation, reducing the cost of removal, and enabling a vessel to be released sooner for deployment or demolition.
The existing method of removing sludge is by bucket. A huge labor force is used to wash down the sides of the tank, deep with the ship’s hold. The waste material is collected at the bottom of the tank and shoveled into buckets, then taken over 30 meters up to the ship’s deck using a winch. The same bucket is sent down again for the next load, and so on, each load taking over 10 minutes – while the ORCA can lift the sludge continuously in less time and deposit it directly into a recovery tank.
Some sludge is too sticky to move through a hose easily. Since sludge typically needs to be bagged for further transport anyway, this can be done directly in the hold, rather than on deck then feed bag by bag through the hose.
One innovative ship yard also improved working conditions for its workers by using the tremendous air flow generated by the ORCA to improve air circulation in the ship’s hold.