Classification society Lloyd’s Register has renewed its certification of the Ecospeed hard coating as an approved abrasion resistant hull protection system for vessels operating in Polar waters.
Upon receiving the new Certificate, Subsea Industries’ CEO Boud Van Rompay said: “Lloyd’s Register’s renewal confirms the lasting durability and strength of Ecospeed and is indicative of the increasing confidence classification societies have in hard-type protective hull coatings.
“The number one consideration in a hull coating for ice-going vessels and icebreakers is the ability of the coating to protect the hull in the harshest marine environment there is. Only a few types of coatings are capable of providing this protection. Typically they are certified for their ice-abrasion resistance qualities by the classification societies.”
Lloyd’s Register says that if the coating is applied in way of the ice belt – the bow area above the waterline most prone to mechanical damage when navigating ice – on ships intending to navigate in first year ice conditions and the coating is maintained in good condition during service, then steel plate thickness of the ice belt can be reduced by up to 1mm.
“This is a considerable saving for shipowners planning newbuilds for Arctic operations. It also reduces the overall weight of the vessel,” said Manuel Hof, Subsea Industries’ Production Executive and NACE Coatings Inspector. “An added advantage is that ice-going vessels operating with Ecospeed do not need to recoat their hulls year on year because there is minimal damage to the coating. That’s a further saving. In effect, the coating forms part of the hull structure.”
Recognising Ecospeed as an abrasion-resistant ice coating for another five years, the certification renewal comes at a time of increased offshore support vessels operations and expedition type cruising in polar waters.
There is also a desire to open up the Northeast Passage and Northern Sea Route to commercial shipping, connecting the Atlantic and Pacific Oceans in order to avoid volatile areas around Suez, the eastern Mediterranean and the Red Sea.