Over the past few months, Nippon Paint Marine has taken a number of initiatives to strengthen its portfolio of products suitable for use on ships in service. The company has, for example, extended the range of coatings that feature its low-friction hydrogel system to include its Ecoloflex SPC 2000 series antifouling coatings. Hydrogel is already integral to the company’s LF-Sea 150 HyB and A-LF-Sea hull coatings and has received positive feedback from the market since their introduction.
The enhanced Ecoloflex SPC 200 LF coating has been specifically developed, Nippon Paint Marine states, to provide the wider commercial shipping sector with a low cost, low friction hull coating. The hydrogel technology now contained within the Ecoloflex coating is proven to significantly reduce hull friction and extend service intervals by up to 90 months, the company claims.
According to Niko Yamanoue, the deputy managing director of Nippon Paint Marine (Europe): “The new low-friction version of Ecoloflex has been developed with the coming global sulphur cap in mind. With the anticipated hike in fuel costs set to impact operations from next year, commercial shipowners will need an economical hull coating capable of helping towards reducing the fuel bill. By adding hydrogel technology to our established antifouling, shipowners can expect to achieve substantial fuel savings compared to regular SPC coatings.”
Nippon Paint Marine believes that Ecoloflex SPC 200 LF will prove to be particularly popular for recoating the hulls of tankers and bulk carriers. John Drew, director of Nippon Paint Marine (Europe), adds: “For most tankers and bulk carriers these systems, having advanced technology incorporated into a high-solid SPC antifouling, will offer a highly effective, and commercially viable way, of reducing operational costs as well as the vessel’s environmental footprint.”
The company first applied hydrogel technology to its LF-Sea 150 HyB product, introduced in 2007, and then further developed the technology with A-LF-Sea, launched in 2013. Ships using A-LF Sea have achieved fuel savings of up to 10%, while the 3000-plus ships that have applied LF-Sea 150 HyB have benefitted from about a 4% reduction in fuel consumption, compared to traditional SPC-type coatings, Nippon Paint Marine claims.
Another recently released product from the Nippon Paint Marine team is Aquaterras, which is believed to be the world’s first, and so far, only biocide-free SPC antifouling. By introducing Aquaterras, the company believes it is now better able to provide shipowners and managers with an antifouling product that is not only free of biocides and heavy metals but can also further reduce fuel consumption through having an ultra-smooth surface.
Recently, Nippon Paint Marine secured a notable reference for Aquaterras when it applied the new SPC antifouling coating to the cruise ship AIDAcara. This drydocking project followed a period of collaboration with Carnival Maritime to find environmentally sustainable ways of reducing its vessels’ energy consumption. The antifouling’s extremely low surface roughness is expected to result in reduced operational expenditure, emissions levels and hull maintenance costs. The application on AIDAcara followed positive experience with test patches on a number of other Carnival group cruise ships, which demonstrated that Aquaterras was an effective antifouling that did not leach hazardous biocides into the water column.
After carrying out surface preparation by using hydro-blasting systems during the vessel’s scheduled drydocking in February at CNdM Marseille, all the underwater areas of AIDAcara’s hull were coated with Aquaterras.