Fouling, that is marine growth on ship hulls and propellers, progresses in stages; slime develops within hours of a ship being immersed in seawater. The hull accumulates a microbial bio film, consisting of bacteria and single-cell organisms. This microscopic slime already reduces the ship’s performance by several percentage points and it is widely considered as inevitable.
Weed and shell fouling decrease the ship’s performance sometimes drastically with typical values in the range of 30-50% more fuel consumption (and associated emissions) compared to a smooth hull. For comparison, many energy saving devices target 3-5% fuel savings. Antifouling, the prevention of marine growth on ships, is thus both an economic and ecological necessity for shipping. The importance of antifouling measures is widely known in shipping circles. But, attempts to improve antifouling strategies stop often after the first encounter with jargon of coating experts: low surface energy coatings, self-polishing copolymers, surface treated coatings. Experts say, that the world fleet is sailing with approx. 30% added resistance and surplus fuel consumption due to hull fouling.
Find out more on how to reduce fuel consumption by attending our antifouling webinar.