Nearly every hull coating supplier today makes similar performance claims. Sleek finishes. Less friction. And, above all, fuel savings.
Some have even begun to back those claims with guarantees. But do they deliver?
Mitsui OSK Lines (MOL)
|MOL’s Brilliant Ace has demonstrated the benefits of Seaflo Neo, says manufacturer Chugoku Marine.|
That is the $64,000 question posed by a new article in The Motorship, which analyzes the latest crop of hull coating products and their claims. The UK journal, published since 1920, is geared toward marine engineers and examines the technical aspects of ship operations and shipbuilding.
In the magazine’s December issue, “Quantifiable results from hull coatings” notes the complexity of tying a ship's performance to its coating:
“Smooth, low-resistance hull coatings are being offered to the market as ways of saving fuel costs and cutting harmful emissions in addition to their traditional anti-fouling role,” the editors note.
“But, we ask, is it possible to prove the benefits of using a premium coating?”
Suppliers who have staked a place in this fast-growing coatings niche say yes.
Here is a look at some of the recent claims—including some previously reported in PaintSquare News—outlined by The Motorship.
Jotun: Money-Back Offer
Last year, the Norwegian coatings maker announced a money-back performance guarantee for its premium SeaQuantum X200 marine coating. The coating and guarantee were folded into a package, called Jotun Hull Performance Solutions, which included technical support and performance measurement tools.
Jotun says the package offers a “reliable and transparent” method of measuring fuel efficiency.
“Jotun is the industry’s first marine coatings manufacturer to back fuel reductions claims with a guarantee, based on verifiable results,” said the company’s Geir Bøe. “We believe HPS represents the new hull performance standard in the marine coatings industry.”
International Paint: ‘Measurable Reduction’
In October, International Paint teamed up with Dutch marine environmental consultant BMT ARGOSS to offer a suite of products and services that allowed marine customers to measure their own hull coatings performance.
By using International Paint products and BMT SMARTSERVICES system, “ship owners and operators will be able to benefit from a measurable reduction in energy use and CO2 emissions,” the companies pledged.
|International Paint now bundles its Intersmooth coating with performance measurement tools by BMT Argoss.|
In The Motorship, officials of both companies reiterate their claims.
“BMT SmartServices will clearly and transparently demonstrate any in-service performance changes when International Paint’s hull coatings have been used,” Han Wensink, managing director of BMT Argoss, told the publication.
International Paint’s Paul Robbins, worldwide marine marketing director, said that the coating-and-monitoring package would “deliver quantifiable added value” backed by more than 30,000 readings per day.
Chugoku Marine Paint: Low Friction
The Japanese manufacturer announced in July that Mitsui OSK Lines (MOL) would adopt its Seaflo Neo hull paint, developed for newbuilding vessels. Chugoku said MOL had tested Seaflo Neo and had confirmed improvement in fuel efficiency and reduction in CO2 emissions. Chugoku says the coating delivers an ultra-smooth surface that reduces drag.
Hempel x3: 5-Vessel Project
Rolled out in 2008, Hempel’s hydrogel silicone antifouling Hempasil x3 boasts a guarantee to reduce a sea vessel’s fuel consumption by at least 4-8 per cent within the first year. The product is currently being used as part of a five-vessel conversion project for Brazilian mining giant Vale, The Motorship reports.
Ecospeed: 10-Year Warranty
Belgian manufacturer Hydrex offers its Ecospeed with a 10-year warranty for durability and says the coating’s hydrodynamic characteristics “dramatically improves the ship's performance.”
Ecospeed is a vinyl ester with a high concentration of embedded glass platelets. Hydrex has released several case studies attesting to improved hull performance with Ecospeed; clients include the Belgian Navy.
PPG: A Traditional Approach
PPG Industries’ latest marine coating, Sigma Nexeon 750, downplays fuel-efficiency claims, emphasizing instead its protection, performance and environmental features. Nexeon 750 is recommended as a final antifouling coat, in combination with other coatings in the Sigma product line.
The Motorship takes no stance on any of these claims but offers this general caveat:
“It is not difficult to prove that, after drydocking and recoating with a new product, fuel consumption is lowered; that is almost inevitable.
“But ship operators need to know that the superior performance is being maintained.”