A new fouling defence system released by Hempel claims to bring 14% fuel savings over traditional anti-fouling, and comes with an impressive performance guarantee including fouling protection for up to 120 days of idle time.

At a press launch for the system in London, Hempel said the new system is suitable for all regions and would enable operators to sail in the Baltic or the tropics without concern, and to achieve fuel savings of 14% compared to traditional anti-foulings. Their performance guarantee includes anti-fouling performance even while idle, allowing for periods of up to 120 days: in such cases Hempel say sustained performance might require underwater cleaning, usually with ROVs or high-pressure water jetting, although cleaning by divers might not be recommended due to the possibility of over-aggressive cleaning.

The new product, Hempaguard MaX, is a three-coat system using a one-coat primer, an intermediate coat and silicone-based topcoat with organic biocides. The new primer and intermediate coats are designed to result in a significantly smoother hull surface, reducing drag and bringing significantly lower fuel requirements. Hempel guarantees a maximum speed loss of 1.2 percent over five years.

The three-layers system means that application time is reduced by up to two days, and Hempel claim combined savings generated through reduced time in dry dock and increased fuel savings could payback the cost of the coating within three months.

Speaking at today’s launch, Hempel’s Head of Marine Group Product Management, Davide Ippolito, said: “The high level of fuel savings and hull protection are achieved due to the low average hull roughness (AHR) level delivered by the whole coating system, very low speed loss over the entire operational period and improved anticorrosive capabilities.”

“Hempaguard MaX is the next logical step for shipowners and operators seeking to maximise their efficiency and reduce associated CO2 emissions. At a time where marginal gains are of importance and environmental regulations are becoming stricter, the choice of hull coating can make a significant difference.”

Hempel’s new system is based on its flagship Hempaguard X7, launched in 2013, and since applied to over 1500 vessels.

Hempel say the strength of the new system is its ability to exploit the synergies between its three different layers: Hempaprime Immerse 900, tie-coat Nexus II, and Hempaguard X8. The top coat uses the familiar Actiguard silicone technology with an improved hydrogel microlayer and organic biocidal anti-fouling.

The likelihood of increased bunker fuel prices, along with pressure on drydock availability, are expected to make the new system attractive to owners as the SOX legislation begins to bite in the coming year.