As the world’s commercial marine fleet faces extended lay-ups, Sonihull is reacting to a surge in demand for low cost, low maintenance systems that can keep fouling at bay
“Market uncertainty and a drop in fleet demand, especially in the passenger carrying sectors, is leading to large numbers of commercial vessels being laid-up alongside or at anchor,” explains Darren Rowlands, CEO of Sonihull, the Coventry-based company behind a market-leading anti-fouling system. Sonihull’s technology harnesses the power of ultrasound to prevent algae, weeds and molluscs form colonising man-made surfaces submerged in seawater.
“This is going to have a very detrimental impact on the condition of their hulls, seachests and raw seawater (RSW) cooling systems. Without regular use, the antifouling systems that usually protect these vessels, like anti-fouling paints and impressed-current systems, will not function and the vessels will become infested with unwanted marine growth very quickly. In warm waters this can happen within a matter of weeks,” warned Rowlands.
“Our dealers in the warm waters of Australia have already started to react to a surge in calls from fast ferry operators. They need to get their vessels protected against the rigours of an undetermined lay-up period, so that they can be reactivated quickly without a long, expensive delay in drydock to clean the hull and remove blockages from the RSW cooling systems.”
Even without the lost revenue, drydocking is a very expensive business, which is why operators do everything they can to extend their intervals. With Sonihull systems fitted, weeds mussels and barnacles will not be able to thrive and operators will be able to respond quickly to changes in vessel demand without worrying about performance, speed, fuel-consumption or engine failure due to blocked cooling pipework.
Sonihull is still providing its regular global dispatch and fitting during the COVID-19 pandemic. “There is no welding or cutting required during installation and whole systems can be fitted in under a day. This really sets us apart from other systems during these times of social distancing,” added Rowlands. “Our technicians can be in and out very quickly, the job can be done at anchor or even when the vessel is operating if necessary.”
“With very low power consumption (<30 Watts for a Sonihull 8 system with eight transducers) the systems are very low maintenance, the perfect solution to a potentially crippling fouling epidemic.”