The Schulte Group has acquired a majority stake in TecHullClean Ltd. (THC). Schulte said in a press release that the acquisition will expand the range of its underwater ship inspection, repair and maintenance (IRM) solutions. The Schulte Group acquired THC to create a consistent anti-fouling (the removal of aquatic species clinging to ship hulls) service for its vessels.
Founded in 1883, the Schulte Group is a ship owner and management firm based in Hamburg, Germany. The company owns 90 vessels and manages over 600 vessels. It has 18,000 seafarers and 1,800 shore-based employees.
THC specializes in underwater ship hull cleaning, inspection and propellor polishing. It also manufactures environmentally friendly hull cleaning equipment which is compliant with the Marine Environment Protection Committee’s (MEPC) 2011 guidelines. These guidelines are intended to limit the transfer of invasive aquatic species which cling to ships moving between global ports. The MEPC is part of the United Nations’ International Maritime Organization, which regulates international shipping.
“The team at THC is proud that the Schulte Group has become our partner and we look forward to benefiting from their global presence,” said THC founder and chief executive officer Paw Rene Jakobsen. “We have already concluded license agreements in Brazil, Ghana, Gibraltar, Qatar and Spain and look forward to further expanding our innovative cleaning technology to other ports.” Jakobsen has 35 years experience in the commercial diving industry.
“The underwater cleaning industry has historically been very fragmented, with small players offering inconsistent services,” said THC chief commercial officer Shaun Harbinson. “With the Schulte Group and the THC team combining their forces, we are able to expand our technology quickly into other regions.”
THC is based in Singapore and Algeciras, Spain, with subsidiaries in Ghana and Gibraltar. The company works with the University of Cadiz in Spain, major shipping lines and anti-fouling paint manufacturers to develop environmentally sustainable anti-fouling equipment for IRM operations.
“Cost-effective biofouling removal and debris collection has been an issue for the shipping industry for a long time,” said Schulte Group chief financial officer and overseer of Schulte Maritime Services Tobias Pinker. “The authorities have been focusing more and more on the environmental aspects of the biodiversity, due to invasive species, so we are glad this joint venture with Paw and Shaun has been established. We started investing in hull cleaning and underwater repair technology three years ago; this joint venture marks another important milestone, offering shipping companies a suite of different systems on a global scale.”