Monday, December 16, 2019

New Environmentally Way to Prevent Those Pests Which Slow Down Dinghies to Supertankers

Freight and Passenger Ferry Group Turn to Silicon Technology
Shipping News Feature

UK – Whilst the world at large looks to shipping to reduce its emissions by way of the IMO sulphur cap and a switch to gas and electric power to cut the discharge of CO2 and other pollutants, below the waterline often lurks a more insidious threat to life.

For decades the antifouling agents applied to the hulls of vessels, from the smallest dinghy to the largest container ship or supertanker have, by their very nature, poisoned the waters they pass through. Such agents, designed to deter crustaceans such as barnacles etc. from making their places of residence aboard any vessel, are toxic to all forms of undersea life and the damage they have wrought is incalculable.

Now however there is a different approach to such pests which can reduce the efficiency of a hull quite markedly by their continued presence, and one company has announced its latest plans to combat the problem as a new high tech paint coating is set to make CalMac's freight and passenger ferry MV Loch Seaforthmore fuel-efficient.

Vessel owner Caledonian Maritime Assets Ltd (CMAL) carried out the repainting work during recent annual dry dock maintenance in Birkenhead. The work involved completely blasting the hull back to bare steel and repainting with a new low emission, fuel saving coating. The silicone based paint, called Jotun Seaquest, uses cutting edge, biocide free, anti fouling technology to keep the vessel clear of barnacles and other debris that attaches to the hull while at sea.

Rather than poisoning potential squatters the non-stick hull uses a coating that makes it much harder for organisms to attach themselves to the vessel, making it more streamlined which, as pointed out by CalMac’s Director of Operations, Robert Morrison, means the ship requires less fuel to maintain its normal operational speed.

The 7,800-tonne MV Loch Seaforthwas launched in 2014 and can carry more than 700 passengers and 143 cars as it sails approximately 2,500 voyages between Ullapool and Stornoway every year, around 132,000 sea miles annually.

The vessel is the largest in CalMac’s 33 strong fleet that supports 49 routes to island and remote mainland locations across the west coast and, as well as general overhaul maintenance work, the vessel also had a main engine strip down and service during her time in dry dock, with the new paint job guaranteed to keep the hull debris free for at least five years. John Salton, Fleet Manager at CMAL observed:

”The new coating will help to reduce future dry dock periods and hopefully allow a quicker return to service. We will monitor the performance of the new coating over the next year and we may consider applying it to other vessels in the fleet.”

Photo: The MV Loch Seaforth with her new environmentally friendly paint job.