A multitude of system components and assemblies exist where the opportunity to assess condition or investigate faults can be severely limited without shutdown and removal or disassembly.
In such cases there is often advantage is making use of less invasive surveying and assessment techniques.
AtZ have become very experienced in the investigation of issues aboard in-service vessels where such restrictions are commonplace. In these cases we can offer boroscope and other remote or non-destructive techniques including remotely operated vehicles (ROV), Thermal imaging, laser scanning and system modelling.


As the name suggests, access for a visual survey through a narrow opening or bore is possible where disassembly or access is limited.

We have been involved in many projects making use of the technology, with examples including:

  • In-situ inspection of stern tube seals to identify leakage and wear
  • Internal engine inspections
  • Rudder bearing checks afloat
  • Sterntube bracket bearing inspections with shaft installed


Where the opportunity to deploy a diver is prohibited, use of a Remote Operated Vehicle (ROV) with video capability has allowed for simple visual inspection of stern tube seals, propellors and thrusters underwater and while alongside in service.


Early indication of system failure can be identified by monitoring average operating temperature across electrical and mechanical systems. Deployment of thermal imaging and temperature monitoring in systems can support:

  • Early warning of component failure in electrical cabinets and control boards
  • Identification of cooling system hot-spots and increased bearing loads
  • Tracing exhaust system leaks and inadequate lagging


Using 3D laser scanning technology it is possible to:

  • Map engine and machinery spaces for inclusion in CAD models
  • Check equipment placement and routing
  • Plan new equipment installations and pipe routeing


Creating system models in a virtual space allows reproduction of system issues, as well as testing potential solutions before proceeding with physical deployment. Examples include:

  • Minimising noise in luxury vessel plumbing systems
  • Optimising HVAC setup in new builds and retrofits
  • Assessing impact of system amendments on operating parameters including cooling and pump capacity


Many such technologies exist for purchase on websites such as Amazon – do we need to buy in company service to deliver them?

It is true that similar tools and technologies are now available to the general public and casual user. They are worth exploring. In our experience however, the accuracy, repeatability and resolution of such entry level systems is variable.
Use of the basic equipment can be good to identify potential issues quickly, but where more detailed conclusions are to be drawn with some certainty and with credibility faces with Classification Societies – use of professional equipment from individuals experienced in their use saves a lot of wasted time, cost and effort

Can the ROV be used while in port?

We have previously sent engineers to the port, sought permission from the harbour authority and had images confirming the problem within an hour. The ROV is contained within a single briefcase and is ready for immediate deployment.

Our exhaust system is corroded but the system is well lagged – will it still be possible to identify issues.

In our experience, best results are achieved from a survey while the system is hot – so it is best to do this while on a longer passage with engines under load.

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