Subsea Industries’ Ecospeed coating is being presented as a cost-effective, environmentally-safe solution to the problems associated with maintaining cruiseship hulls in a pristine condition.
Cruiseships, particularly when operating in warmer waters, can attract fouling organisms which create a bad impression – not only to passengers and prospective customers but to port operators. From the operator’s point of view, fouled hulls increase fuel consumption and thus costs. As hull coatings become worn and damaged, they attract still more fouling, leading to increased time spent in dry dock. Damaged and worn coatings leave hulls and underwater gear susceptible to corrosion, leading to further time spent in dry dock.
Underwater cleaning will help preserve the appearance and performance of these high value ships, but with toxic anti-foulings and foul-release coatings an increasing number of ports will not permit such practices, as they lead to both increased toxins in the water and the risk of introduction of invasive non-native species.
Ecospeed, however, offers a solution to these difficulties. It is durable, smooth, and, above all, non-toxic. Being ultra-strong it prevents corrosion and damage. As it is intended to remain in place rather than wear away, once applied it remains intact for many more years than anti-fouling or foul release coatings. Even underwater gear such as rudders and propellers can be protected – the Ecoshield variant is designed to minimise cavitation damage. If any touch-ups or repairs are needed, these are easily and quickly carried out during routine drydocking.
Importantly, Ecospeed is easily cleaned, and being durable and non-toxic, underwater cleaning can be carried out anywhere with no risk of coating deterioration or increased release of toxins. In fact, the more Ecospeed is cleaned, the smoother it becomes, resulting in significant fuel savings.
Ecospeed’s cruise customers are not only experiencing fuel savings and enhancing their public image and environmental credentials – they are able to get their ships out of drydock several days sooner than with similar ships using conventional coatings, resulting in cost savings and increased revenue.
“Hard coatings offer a complete solution for superintendents and others who have to deal with the issues resulting from the use of biocidal anti-foulings and foul release coatings on cruise ships,” says Subsea Industries founder Boud van Rompay.
“And because of the longer life, the ease of cleaning and shorter drydocking times they can offer significant cost savings over the life of the coating. Added to the potential fuel savings and enhanced PR for the owners we believe we can help overcome all the problems with cruise ships coatings. And not only cruiseships of course; similar issues exist in many other sectors of the industry.”