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  1. AkzoNobel develops pioneering marine fouling prevention solution based on UV-LED technology

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    AkzoNobel is to develop a revolutionary fouling prevention technology which uses ultraviolet light-emitting diodes (UV-LED). The pioneering solution – which uses underlying technology developed by Royal Philips – will be applied to underwater surfaces to eliminate fouling growth.

    By teaming up AkzoNobel’s cutting-edge surface protection and adhesion know-how with Royal Philips’ unrivalled capabilities and intellectual property in UV-LED lighting and electronics, the two companies are aiming to develop an economically viable solution for underwater fouling prevention.

    The innovation will integrate UV light-emitting diodes in a protective coating scheme which will allow for the UV light to be emitted from the coating surface, providing the total prevention of biofouling accumulation on the surface of the protected area.

    The fully biocide-free solution will provide groundbreaking performance and offer complete fouling prevention to the hulls of ships and boats. The total control of biofouling represents a substantial economic and environmental benefit, and when realized, the impact of this new technology on vessel owners and operators will be hugely significant.

    “In our Sustainable Fouling Control initiative, we actively explore and develop alternatives to biocidal-based solutions,” said Oscar Wezenbeek, Director of AkzoNobel Marine and Protective Coatings. “This development is a great proof point of our continuous focus on delivering eco-friendly solutions to our customers.”

    AkzoNobel has long been a frontrunner in developing sustainable marine coatings, having introduced the industry’s first biocide-free antifouling coating, Intersleek, in 1996. The product – a true revolution at that time – presented AkzoNobel with huge development challenges which they were able to tackle. Intersleek has since helped ship owners to save over $3 billion of fuel and 32 million tons of CO2 and it continues to play a leading role in the company’s commitment to making shipping more sustainable.

    Despite the complexity of this project, AkzoNobel is again confident they will be overcome and ultimately expects the technology to completely revolutionize the fouling control industry. Initially, the focus will be on applications for ships, yachts and offshore assets, but the project could potentially be extended to include other surfaces challenged by bio-fouling issues.

    “This unique project is fully aligned with AkzoNobel’s continuous focus on innovation,” explained Klaas Kruithof, AkzoNobel’s Chief Technology Officer. “In our quest to not only protect and color, but also functionalize surfaces, we actively look for complementary technologies and partners to innovate with. In this case, the combined capabilities and technology of Royal Philips and AkzoNobel will enable us to accelerate the realization of this transformative innovation, which we intend to initially market ourselves and consider licensing out to third parties for large-scale adoption.”

  2. Biofouling back on the regulatory agenda

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    In August 2017, the IMO announced a new global project, the GloFouling Partnership, to encourage the uptake of the IMO Guidelines for the control and management of ships’ biofouling (resolution MEPC.207(62)) issued in 2011. In addition, this week , the Pollution Prevention and Response sub-committee of IMO (IMO-PPR) will discuss a proposal from the EU member states to restrict or ban the organic biocide ‘Cybutryne’, used in some antifouling paints.

    These are both developments that AkzoNobel welcomes. We’re fundamentally aware of the impact that biofouling can have on the delicate ecosystems that are not only an important part of our natural heritage, but are vital to the continued sustainability of global fishing stocks. We are also aware of the need to provide effective but safe products to our customers which do not harm the environment.    At the same time the effect that biofouling has on vessel performance and efficiency, in conjunction with the additional carbon emissions that it causes, means that it’s a challenge which must be tackled.


    The GloFouling Partnership is evidence of a generic growing awareness of biofouling. As we’ve seen in the past with the implementation of the MARPOL Annex VI global sulphur cap, and the recent debates around greenhouse gas emissions within the Marine Environmental Protection Committee, there is now a real demand for the shipping industry to improve its sustainability.  AkzoNobel unequivocally supports this, and it is a core tenet of our business strategy and vision.

    Because of this, we were involved in the development of the IMO guidelines from the outset, participating actively in working groups convened by the organisation through the International Paint and Printing Ink Council (IPPIC).

    These guidelines are not mandatory – but they do outline what best practice looks like for owners and operators wishing to stay ahead of the curve.

    This looks like the smart choice, as many countries and regions are beginning to move ahead of the IMO and introduce their own biofouling regulations. For example, from May 2018, New Zealand will require all vessels that arrive in its waters to have ‘clean hulls’, with varying levels of fouling acceptable depending on the vessel’s itinerary. This region has also seen the world’s first biofouling “casualty” as the bulk carrier DL Marigold was turned away having been deemed an invasive species risk.

    The state of California has also tightened up its regulations on biofouling to include the mandatory biofouling management of a vessel’s wetted surfaces. Vessels are subject to California’s biofouling management requirements as follows:

    • New Vessels: Upon delivery on or after January 1, 2018
    • Existing Vessels: Upon completion of the first regularly scheduled out-of-water maintenance on or after January 1, 2018

    The California biofouling management requirements include:

    • Developing and maintaining a Biofouling Management Plan
    • Developing and maintaining a Biofouling Record Book
    • Biofouling management of wetted surfaces and niche areas
    • Specific requirements for vessels with extended residency periods of 45 or more days

    Through the American Coatings Association, AkzoNobel was actively and successfully involved in lobbying for California to adopt   guidelines closely aligned to the IMO approach, as their original proposal was very different and would have been significantly more burdensome on ship owners and operators.

    Zebra Mussels, USFWS Photo

    The effects of invasive species in marine environments are seen as one of the four greatest threats to aquatic ecosystems and are almost always irreversible. In native environments there are natural ‘controls’ of populations such as predators which keep species in check thus helping maintain the delicate balance of nature. However, Invasive species can thrive if their new habitat lacks natural predators to control their population. They do damage by consuming native species, competing with them for food or space, or introducing disease.

    One infamous example of an invasive species is the zebra mussel, accidentally introduced by a ship into the North American Great Lakes from the Black Sea in 1988. The mussel multiplied uncontrollably, starving out many of the Great Lakes’ native mussel populations and interfering with man-made structures from factory intake pipes to ship rudders. They’ve now spread from Canada to Mexico and are considered a major nuisance species and millions of dollars are spent annually to control their numbers.

    Invasive species can be transported in the ballast water of ships or in marine growth present on areas of vessels which are immersed in water, such as biofouling on ships’ Biofouling-5hulls and on niche areas such as bow thrusters, sea chests, anchor chains and inside internal cooling systems.

    For those using them, the IMO’s biofouling guidelines go a long way towards allowing access to ports with stringent fouling regulations. Not only do they provide best practice advice on how to keep a clean hull, they also include the keeping of record books, which will help port authorities and other parties easily determine if a vessel is a fouling risk. The guidelines advocate owners and operators to establish a Biofouling Management Plan and Record book. These documents record the selection of the fouling control coating and methods of installation.   Maintenance plans, in-water inspections and in-service cleaning records are also documented. There is also consideration at design and construction stage for new vessels to minimise biofouling, particularly in ‘niche’ areas.

    At the same time, these recommendations – particularly as they are voluntary – are only part of the picture. Effectively managing biofouling is critical, but it is also a highly complex issue. Different vessels, with different operating profiles, in different locations will each face different fouling challenges. There are coatings out there for each eventuality – the International® marine coatings product range from AkzoNobel includes solutions for any vessel, from biocide-free, Intersleek foul release coatings that control slime, to Intercept 8500 LPP, aimed at helping vessels in locations with high fouling risk.

    However, knowing which coating to use, and when, involves a significant array of variables. This is why we have created consultancy Big Data tool Intertrac Vision. It uses Biofouling-3advanced analytics and datasets incorporating billions of data points to accurately predict hull performance, depending on factors such as operational profile, fouling risk, and vessel type. This gives owners and operators insight into lifecycle cost, emissions and potential fuel savings, and tangible proof of return on investment from the comparison of different coatings choices. This is part of our wider ‘Digital Voyage’ strategy of using the latest digital technology to put as much of our knowledge and expertise as possible into the hands of industry stakeholders. In addition to Intertrac Vision, our original Intertrac vessel tracking tool, an industry first, can be used by owners and operators to have fact-based discussions with port authorities about the fouling challenge their vessel has encountered and also indicate any static periods, including location, the vessel has undergone.


    We have also developed templates of the Biofouling Management Plan and Record Book to help owners and operators comply with these guidelines:

    1. Biofouling Management Plan;
    2. Biofouling Record Book;

    It’s important to keep the big picture in mind – that the long-term health of our oceans depends on taking biofouling seriously. AkzoNobel continues to support and be active in the IMO’s renewed focus on this vital problem, whilst also developing both the coatings and digital solutions the industry needs to keep our oceans vibrant and safe.

    Carl Barnes,
    Global Segment Manager, Antifouling


  3. What we do to stay safe; nothing is more important

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    The one thing which truly can keep me awake at night is the concern for the safety of my colleagues. Ensuring their well-being is the top-priority for me and my managers. Many of our colleagues work at sites where they are exposed to potential safety hazards. If we take the example of Singapore, there were 66 fatalities in 2016 and out of these, 6 were in the marine segment (source: www.mom.gov.sg)


    Our Technical Services Representatives (TSRs) work closely together with our customers and the contractors of the shipyards. From surface preparation to the finished coat, TSRs are on hand to provide sound technical advice to make sure the products are applied to the highest quality standards and correct specification to ensure optimum performance of the vessel in service.

    On jobs away from the shipyard, our TSRs offer their experience and expertise on corrosion and coatings in any number of projects, all over the world. This constantly changing environment, added with the fact that we work with an ever-increasing range of projects, teams and customers puts high demands on our TSRs and highlights the need to remain firmly focused on safety at all times.

    How do we keep TSRs safe?

    Our Technical Service, Health, Safety and Environment (HSE) training packages and field experience are designed to lead to the knowledge that enables our TSRs to undertake accurate Risk Assessments for the situations they encounter whilst working in yards.

    Regular communication is important and so we constantly keep all TSRs informed of any safety alerts either from within AkzoNobel or outside of the organisation.

    I’m always heartened to see how our TSRs take ownership of their safety and find new ways to look out for each other. Some teams communicate via social media, sharing key happenings or risks they have identified and I think this is a great way of people working in different locations; all around the world can quickly share and support their colleagues.

    Lifesaving rules (LSR)

    Every working environment presents some element of risk. Training, use of safety equipment and identification and reporting of risks is only part of the answer – the other is making our workplaces safer. That is the real goal. For this reason AkzoNobel works in partnership with shipyards, fabricators and customers to maintain a safe working environment.

    All our employees, including TSRs, attend monthly meetings where safety matters and learnings from safety alerts are discussed. Every safety alert is an opportunity for the team to improve.

    But at the centre of every meeting and everything we do are the AkzoNobel Life Saving Rules (LSR). These directives are unquestionable and unquestionably the most important element of safety in our business.

    The Golden Rule

    At every level of the organisation it is vital that people know, remember and act upon our Life Saving Rules, including the golden rule to “stop work if conditions or behaviors are unsafe”. TSRs carry a card with the LSRs and Golden Rule which they can show to customers if they feel the need to do so.

    Applying the LSRs and the Golden Rule has truly saved lives and not just of AkzoNobel employees. An example where a TSR and shipyard have worked together was in covering all manholes. The area where the TSR was to carry out his work had several open manholes which could cause someone to fall into it. The TSR highlighted this to the shipyard and the manholes were covered. Another TSR urged a contractor to wear a safety harness whilst working at great height on scaffolding. When disaster struck and the scaffolding fell down the harness saved the contractor’s life.

    But equally I have seen examples where staff have identified and reported a hazard – a piece of pipe laying in a walkway at the top of scaffolding stairs – they have filled in all the paperwork, reported it , and outlined all the potential accidents that could occur. Immediate action was also taken to move the pipe out of the walkway.


    Safety is the responsibility of the entire company

    Of course, the work by TSRs covers just one area of the vast industry in which we operate. In line with our policy statement on Health, Safety, Environment and Security 2016, all our activities are underpinned by AkzoNobel’s core principles of safety, integrity and sustainability.

    This means acknowledging responsibility for protecting the health and safety of employees, contractors, customers and neighbors. We continue to drive our behavior-based safety (BBS) programs and Life-Saving Rules across the company. Our safety programs have resulted in a major improvement in the total reportable rate of injuries per million hours worked, which has decreased from 2.4 in 2012 to 1.4 in 2016. Further work is needed to meet our target of 1.0 by 2020 and eventually “zero”.

    Zero injuries, waste and harm

    Last August a fatal incident at a shipyard in South Korea, which is still under thorough investigation, offers a stark reminder of the importance of safety at the workplace. As a result, I strongly believe that even one accident represents one too many and that every industry as a whole should aspire to achieve zero injuries, waste and harm. Complacency is our biggest enemy; a daily commitment to continuous improvement our only friend.

    Have a great Christmas and a blessed New Year. Stay safe!



  4. Biofilms

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    Ships that sail the seas foul to slime.  What do we know about this universal fouling problem?


    Figure 1 – Ship slime is a smart microbial lifestyle: microalgae, bacteria and other microbes produce an extracellular matrix that adheres the microorganisms to the surface, and provides cohesion within the biofilm and protection from mechanical and chemical disruption.

    Firstly, we know that the marine industry is not alone in facing a slime challenge.  As fouling control coatings researchers at AkzoNobel, we are interested in the drag consequences of biofilms (slime) on ships.  Surgeons worry that biofilms on implanted medical devices can harbour pathogens, or that biofilms in chronic wounds result in long lasting infections.  Biofilms in dairy plants can result in food spoilage.  Accumulated biofilms in power plant cooling towers can drastically reduce heat exchange.  Biofilms can reduce the cross-sectional area of pipes, resulting in drinking water transport inefficiencies or blockage of fuel lines.  Dental biofilms lead to painful tooth decay and other health problems. And biofilms are even a potential problem in space, where they might act as hotbeds of microbially induced corrosion on long term installations like the International Space Station.

    Whether marine, clinical, industrial or extra-terrestrial, biofilms are characterised by properties that give them superpowers of persistence which are especially vexing in industrial contexts.  A biofilm is made of living microorganisms embedded in an extracellular polymeric matrix produced by some or all of the cells, and typically is adhered to an immersed surface.  The microbial community diversity can range from biofilms dominated by only a few species of bacteria to highly diverse environmental biofilms that contain thousands of species of bacteria, microalgae, fungi, protozoa and other species all living in close association.  The architecture, chemical composition and physical properties of biofilm matrices are likewise variable, reflecting the species that form the biofilm and the local environmental conditions such as local flow conditions.  Finally, these diverse microbial systems can also respond to environmental change on timescales of minutes, hours, and days, modifying their biological, chemical, and physical properties


    Figure 2 – Environmental scanning electron microscopy reveals the often beautiful morphological detail of diatoms, single celled microalgae that are typically major constituents of marine fouling biofilms

    The matrix also shields its microbes from chemical attacks by antibiotics or biocides.  In some instances substances in the matrix will directly sequester chemical agents, while in other cases the matrix provides a simple physical diffusion barrier, where less and less of the chemical actually moves into the deepest areas of the matrix.  Cells inside this deepest, most protected zone of the matrix may be effectively starving and fall dormant, because nutrients would also have to cross the diffusion barrier. However these dormant cells are a kind of microbial reservoir, and should all the other cells die and the outer layers of the biofilm disintegrate, the inner cells may jumpstart the community all over again and refresh the biofilm. The role of the matrix as a chemical shield has been proposed as a contributing factor as to why slime grows on biocidal marine coatings.

    Given the remarkable resilience of biofilms to physical and chemical stresses, combined with the global diversity of marine microbes, biofilms can reasonably be expected to grow on any immersed marine coating over time in real world vessel operating conditions. However, if you survey the hulls of newly dry-docked ships around the world, or the experimental coating panels that have been immersed at our field testing sites, you would intuitively observe that not all fouling biofilms are the same.  They vary in colour, texture, spatial coverage and thickness, and these visual cues indicate there might be further differences in slime microbial communities and in the frictional drag penalties attached to different biofilms.  The AkzoNobel fouling control marine biology, hydrodynamics and coatings research teams are incorporating investigatory methods from across the multi-disciplinary fields of biofilm science to better understand the varied properties of biofilms that form on marine surfaces and, in parallel, improve our coating development processes.  Within this context, we are asking whether there is a biological slime metric that is a robust predictor of the associated slime drag penalty.

    Figure 3 – Microalgae in marine photosynthetic biofilms auto-fluoresce in signature colours, reflecting their individual photosynthetic and accessory pigments

    For the biologists in the team, a natural first approach is to examine the communities in fouling biofilms.  Marine ship biofilms are generally comprised of both bacterial and microalgal populations, and one of the most recognizable constituent microbial groups is the diatoms.  These single microalgal cells are encased in intricate silica shells and can be identified by shell morphology.  We’ve used both environmental scanning electron microscopy and standard light microscopy to analyse biofilm samples collected from ships and have catalogued the slime diatom diversity at different hull locations, definitively demonstrating that ship slime varies along and down the hull and can vary from ship to ship and coating to coating.

    Though diatoms are common in fouling marine biofilms they are by no means the only microalgae present.  All microalgae contain pigments which they use to convert light to energy by photosynthesis and additional pigments which play other associated roles and are often specific to a particular type of algae.  Measurements of microalgal pigments in plankton samples are regularly used in oceanography as broad fingerprints to identify the different algal groups present, and we’ve adopted the same approach to characterise slime.  Biofilm pigment chromatography analysis has revealed that in at least some experiments, several coatings are well-colonized by a particular type of microalgae that is effectively absent from other coatings.  Another property of microalgal pigments is that they auto-fluoresce – that is, the pigments capture shorter wavelength light, absorb some of the energy, and then emit light at longer wavelengths.  Different pigments fluoresce at different wavelengths, so we can use epifluorescence microscopy to confirm visually the output of pigment chromatography analysis.  For example, under an epifluorescence microscope with a UV/blue light source, diatoms and cyanobacteria, which will auto-fluoresce deep red and orange respectively, are clearly distinct.

    Figure 4 – Multispectral imaging approaches to mapping biofilm density, such as this map of the chlorophyll suface area density of a slimed panel, have roots in satellite sensing of global vegetation and ocean productivity

    Metagenomic analysis is a more finely resolved technique for obtaining a broad overview of the pooled microbial community in a fouling biofilm. We’ve been partnering with university microbiologists and bioinformaticians to study how bacterial diversity and total fouling community diversity reflect the influences of the underlying coating as well as biofilm maturity.  AkzoNobel biology team researchers have extracted DNA from hundreds of slime samples, and each new result offers an exciting insight as to how communities form.

    We also want to be able to link biofilm properties with reliable and objective measurements of how much biofilm is fouling a surface.  To estimate total biomass, we’ve once again taken advantage of the fact that most ship slime contains photosynthetic, pigmented microalgae.  In oceanography, the amount of chlorophyll in a body of water is a long-established proxy for the amount of photosynthetic microalgal biomass.  Chlorophyll absorbs red light and reflects green light, and likewise has characteristic absorption properties for other light wavelengths. If you can measure how much light is absorbed and reflected by photosynthetic biomass, you can approximate how much biomass there is.  Multispectral biomass imaging, as this approach is called, is how the global marine microalgal conversion of sunshine to biomass is mapped from space by satellites.  We’ve been developing similar methods to benchmark coating performance in lab assays, immersion trials, and on ships, and are looking at not only how much biomass is in slime, but how the biomass is distributed across the surface of a ship.

    How do biofilm biological characteristics link up with biofilm physical properties like thickness, surface roughness, texture, and viscoelasticity?  It is a challenge to measure the surfaces of biofilms so as to characterise their physical properties over appropriately large scales.  The go-to methods for coating or biofilm surface analysis all have limitations when it comes to biofilm: laser light can be reflected and scattered from a biofilm surface, indentation methods can deform a biofilm, and microscopy can only image very small surface areas.  In very recent years, though, biofilm structural research has opened up with the adoption of an imaging technology called optical coherence tomography (OCT).  OCT lets us image the surface and interior structures of living biofilms over a surface area of approximately one square centimeter.  For the last three years we’ve been using OCT imaging to get a closer look at the biofilms that grow on different coatings, and have developed methods to convert image data to biofilm topography, thickness, biovolume and surface roughness data.  OCT video imaging is also possible, and we’re exploring how fouling biofilms on different coatings respond structurally to different water flow rates.


    Figure 5 – OCT imaging reveals highly visible differences in slime topography for biofilms grown over 13 months on 9 different coatings, including both biocidal and non-biocidal coatings.

    Again, one of our main objectives is to develop biological and physical predictors of biofilm drag so as to incorporate those metrics into coating development.  In parallel with exploring biological techniques, the hydrodynamics and marine biology research teams have been developing both in-house and collaborative approaches to measure the drag of slime on coatings.  With flow cells and rotating disc systems, collaborative projects and in-house experiments, we are working to understand which methods are best suited to tie slime hydrodynamics and biophysical properties together.

    Biofilms are natural super-structures and are not an easy challenge to address, which is why we are actively applying the investigative methods outlined here and other techniques from across the diverse field of biofilm science in our development of slime-resistant coating technologies.

    @JenniferLongyear (Technology Leader I, AkzoNobel Marine Coatings)

  5. Customer-focused Product Stewardship

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    At AkzoNobel we ensure that product safety and sustainability is considered in all areas of the value chain, from raw material extraction by our suppliers, manufacturing in our factories, application of our products and ultimately recycling at end-of-life.  We call this our Product Stewardship approach.

    We see Product Stewardship as a fundamental way of doing business and that it is everyone’s responsibility.  Quite simply, it is the right thing to do.

    Our goal is to provide our customers with safer products that have the highest possible performance, are competitively priced and meet or exceed their expectations.

    Fundamental to Product Stewardship is our industry-leading priority substance management program that has been recognized by a number of prestigious organizations from around the world. The American Chemistry Council (ACC), the European Chemicals Association (CEFIC) and the Association of International Chemical Manufacturers (AICM) have all awarded the program high accolades showing that it is best-in-class and leads the way to the use of safer products and a safer industry.

    Pioneered in our Marine Coatings business, the aim of the priority substance management programme is to identify substances of concern and substitute with safer alternatives or, when that is not possible, carry out risk assessments for their specific end-uses (for example, application by professional sprayers in a shipyard).  If we cannot show safe use, we will phase out the use of the substance. This activity is in advance of legislation and ensures that we lead the industry rather than following so that our customers can be assured that they are using the safest products on the market when purchasing from AkzoNobel.

    Under the International® brand of products we have a proven track record of removing many harmful substances from our products in advance of the industry and legislation. For example, we were the first company to

    • Remove lead compounds from all our paints
    • Stop using harmful coal tars in our anticorrosives
    • Stop using antifouling biocides based on organotins
    • Introduce biocide-free fouling control

    These are definitely the right things to do and we are proud of our achievements.

    We have now started a journey with our customers aiming to align our ambitions for Product Stewardship and sustainability with theirs. Our ambition is to help our customers make product choices based on product safety and sustainability and not just technology.

    Under the name “Customer-Focused Product Stewardship”, we are creating open dialogue with our customers about the product safety and sustainability of their product selection helping to increase awareness with the ultimate aim of aligning the products selected by the customer with their Product Stewardship and sustainability ambitions.

    Developed with peer companies in the World Business Council for Sustainable Development (WBCSD) chemicals work stream and piloted in our Marine Coatings business, we now use a process to categorize all of the products in our portfolio into five segments; Eco-Premium, Performer Eco, Performer, Transitioner and Priority depending on their product safety and sustainability assessments.  Through this assessment, we can make our customers aware of the impacts of their product choices.

    Combining this with other characteristics of our products which determine the full environmental impact, we have created sustainability reports to fully inform customers of the overall impact that their product selections have.

    This is the first step to making a change. Without knowing where you currently stand, how is it possible to move forward?  By informing our customers of the product safety and sustainability impacts that their choices create, we aim to be able to work together to align those impacts with our shared ambitions of using the safest, most sustainable products that meet or exceed the customers’ needs.


  6. Intercept 8500 LPP a clear choice for cruise operators

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    There are few buoyant sectors in shipping at present, but cruise business is on a roll. There are now a record number of cruise ships on order with a total contract value of close to $50bn, and an existing fleet that is now larger than it has ever been.

    AkzoNobel, supplier of the International® brand of marine coatings, has been active in the cruise sector for many years and its premium products have been widely adopted by various cruise brands. Cruise operators are data-driven and AkzoNobel is the only marine coatings company so far to offer predictive guidance on coating performance based on big data, an individual ship’s operating profile, her geographical location, and antifouling type through Intertrac Vision.

    Dedicated teams


    “Cruise market is very important to us; we know the excellent performance of Intercept 8500 LPP and the predictive analysis from Intertrac Vision affords us a unique offering,” explains John Mangano, AkzoNobel’s Regional Marketing Manager for North & South America.

    “Cruise operators are well ahead of the commercial shipping market in their real-time monitoring capabilities,” he continues, “and most recently built cruise vessels have sensors from top to bottom. Many cruise lines have now set up dedicated fuel management teams to monitor vessels’ performance in addition to tracking where every tonne of fuel is used on board ship in real time. Our hull performance specialists in Felling UK are liaising with them on the data.”

    Apart from the potential offered by one of shipping’s only upbeat markets, Mangano is clearly very excited about AkzoNobel’s premium antifouling coating, Intercept 8500 LPP, which he believes holds great promise for cruise operators. He refers to one unique benefit – the combination of this highly effective coating and Intertrac Vision which enables coating specs to be tailored to cruise clients’ ship-specific requirements.

    Predictable performance

    Intercept 8500 LPP is AkzoNobel’s premium antifouling coating. LPP stands for “linear polishing polymer” whereby a carefully formulated balance between polymer and biocide mirrors both the efficiency and linear polishing rate for which tributyltin-based products were favoured before they were banned.

    “AkzoNobel was actually the first marine coatings company to stop using TBT coatings but they were popular because they polished at a predictable and linear rate over time,” Mangano explains. “Since they were banned, cruise companies have not been able to find a biocide-based product which provides constant performance over a drydocking cycle because none of the replacement technologies offered this consistent linear polishing.”


    “Now, though, the unique combination of our patented Lubyon polymer technology, the self-polishing copolymer silyl methacrylate, and biocide components copper oxide and copper pyrithione are producing spectacular results for various ship types trading in regions with different fouling risks. Applications so far in the cruise sector are proving very successful. We are confident that Intercept 8500 LPP will not disappoint our cruise customers!” Mangano adds.

    Predictable performance is particularly important for cruise operators whose ships operate on schedules which are accurate to within a few minutes. Depending on a ship’s operating profile, cruise operators may choose shorter or longer drydocking schedules, but Intercept 8500 LPP can be tailored to meet ship-specific requirements whilst still maintaining the same linear polishing rate.

    However, Mangano draws attention to other benefits too. He explains that the coating offers outstanding performance for ships with relatively low activity in high-risk fouling areas. In the Caribbean, for example, cruise ships may hop from island to island, on relatively short voyages and with lengthy periods at anchor or on berth. The coating’s antifouling properties work equally well whether a cruise vessel is stationary or under way.

    Less resistance

    Then there is the nature of the coating itself. Intercept 8500 LPP is extremely smooth and in some of the first applications has shown surface roughness measurements of 46 microns, 67 microns and 89 microns as compared with other products sold in this sector which are in the 90-100 microns range. Since hull roughness is a direct determinant of a ship’s skin friction resistance, Mangano points out, it is clear that a smoother hull is a benefit.

    In fact, in an internal experiment, AkzoNobel’s analysts discovered that Intercept 8500 LPP, applied to a cruise ship’s hull in waters with a high fouling risk, required 2% less power than the company’s other antifouling – Intersmooth 7460HS SPC. Mangano reveals that in a cost benefit analysis based on bunker fuel at $350/tonne, applying Intercept 8500 LPP gave a payback time of 20 months and a reduction in carbon dioxide emissions of 10,000 tonnes over five years.

    So far, AkzoNobel has notched up a series of successes in the maintenance and repair sector, with projects successfully completed for leading cruise lines including Princess Cruises on the Regal Princess and Costa Crociere for its Costa Luminosa and Costa Serena. In addition, Aida cruises has selected Intercept 8500 LPP on the Aida Vita.

    “It’s only a matter of time until the cruise market fully realises the benefits of Intercept 8500 LPP,” Mangano declares.

    For more information on Intercept 8500 LPP, visit HERE

    John Mangano


  7. Intercept 8500 LPP notches up exceptional in-service performance

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    Ships’ hulls coated with AkzoNobel’s premium biocide-based anti-fouling, Intercept 8500 LPP, are revealing excellent and, in some case, exceptional in-service results.

    Intercept 8500 LPP is exceeding all expectations. LPP stands for ‘linear polishing polymer’, and this latest addition to our product range, which we launched in March 2016, is doing just that. Its carefully formulated polymer and biocide balance is mirroring both the efficiency and the linear polishing rate for which TBT-based products were favoured.

    Unfortunately tributyltin (TBT) had undesired environmental side effects; therefore AkzoNobel (International Paint at that time) was the first marine coatings company to remove TBT from all of their coating products.  However, ship operators liked TBT coatings because they polished at a predictable and linear rate over time. We have had our world-leading polymer scientists working on coating formulations that could match the performance of TBT-based products and now, Intercept 8500 LPP is doing just that.

    The unique combination of patented Lubyon polymer technology, the self-polishing copolymer silyl methacrylate, and biocide components copper oxide and copper pyrithione have yielded spectacular fouling control results across a range of ship types trading in different regions with a variety of fouling risk challenges.

    The coating’s performance is unquestionably the best of all our deep sea biocidal fouling control products and it is particularly suitable for high fouling challenge voyages in regions including the Arabian Gulf and South East Asia. In patch tests, Intercept 8500 LPP has compared very favourably with other biocidal technologies and a premium biocide based competitors’ product. We believe it’s the best in class.

    Coating surveys have been carried out on the hulls of various ocean-going vessels including tankers, cruise vessels, container ships and bulk carriers. A test patch on the hull of a 109,229 dwt Aframax tanker for example, was found to be almost free of fouling after 20 months of operation between July 2015 and March 2017.



    This was remarkable because the vessel had spent more than 60% of her time in waters of either high or very high fouling risk, and she also had spells of low activity in a weak tanker market. Low activity or, even worse, idle time waiting for cargoes substantially increase hull fouling rates.

    In contrast and on the hull of  the same tanker, a competitor’s test patch did not perform as well. Its product, based on a silyl acrylate Self-Polishing Copolymer, had not prevented a significant level of shell fouling and a dramatic increase, therefore, in hull roughness.

    Impact of hull roughness can’t be underestimated. As a rule of thumb, every additional 25 microns of hull roughness adds 1% to hull resistance through the water. That’s why fuel consumption increases steadily between drydockings.



    However, after a full hull blast and application of Intercept 8500 LPP in drydock, we have found very smooth hulls, much smoother, in fact, than the typical 90-100 microns that is expected to be achieved by a biocidal antifouling after a full hull blast. In some of the first applications, we recorded hull roughness levels of 46 microns, 67 microns and 89 microns. This is exceptional!



    Another example of exceptional performance of Intercept 8500 LPP has been seen when applied to the hulls of offshore supply vessels working in the high fouling risk waters of the Arabian Gulf and with relatively low activity.

    One owner who had a test patch on his OSV in the Gulf says its performance was excellent despite the extreme fouling challenge encountered in the Gulf and the low activity of this vessel.

    He has gone on record as saying that for future dockings of vessels with similar trading profiles, his preference would be to use Intercept 8500 LPP. He is just one of a number of satisfied customers. And that is great news for us!

    For more information on Intercept 8500, visit the page here

    @Carl Barnes
    Segment Manager – Antifouling

  8. Newbuildings in Korea with Intersleek® coatings

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    Since the first newbuilding application of Intersleek coatings in Korea (2005), a total of 73 vessels have been successfully coated with Intersleek products in Korean Newbuilding shipyards, including Knutsen’s 2 LNG carriers which were coated with Intersleek 1100SR and delivered from Hyundai Heavy Industries (HHI) in 2016.



    Images courtesy of Hyundai Heavy Industries

    Newbuilding Application Procedures

    The general antifouling application procedures and stages in Korean yards are as follows:

    Block Stage Hull Stage

    (= Building Dock Stage)

    PDD (Pre-Delivery Dry-Docking) Stage after fitting out


    • All antifouling coats on the flat bottom are completed at ‘Block Stage’.
    • After erection of all blocks, the Intersleek scheme is applied to join-up areas with the exception of the final coat which is applied at the ‘Hull Stage’ after the required surface preparation.
    • The final coat of antifouling for the Vertical Sides is applied at ‘Hull Stage’ shortly before launching.
    • In the case of LNG vessels (in some yards), the final coat of antifouling on the Vertical Sides can be applied during the PDD (Pre-delivery Dry-docking) Stage to provide a fresh paint film before delivery, considering the longer outfitting period (~12 months).

    For Intersleek Newbuilding applications, the same 3 stages can also be used depending on the yard’s situation.  The main application procedure options can be summarized as follows:

    Case #1

    Intersleek application to flat bottom at Block Stage

    Intersleek application to vertical sides at Hull Stage (= Building Dock Stage)



    Case #2

    Intersleek application to flat bottom at Block Stage

    Intersleek application to vertical sides at PDD Stage



    Case #3

    Intersleek application to vertical sides only at Hull Stage (= Building Dock Stage)



    Case #4

    Intersleek application to both flat bottom and vertical sides at Hull Stage (= Building Dock Stage)



    Case #5

    Intersleek application to both flat bottom and vertical sides at PDD Stage





    The Newbuilding shipyards that have experience with Intersleek applications in Korea are Daewoo Shipbuilding & Marine Engineering, Hyundai Heavy Industries, Samsung Heavy Industries and Hyundai Mipo Dockyard.  All of them have developed their own optimized procedures in consultation with AkzoNobel.  The representative cases shown above explain all the current scenarios used in Korean yards for the application of Intersleek at Newbuilding.

    By: Kim HJ (Regional Marketing Manager for Korea & Japan)

  9. Zafer takes on new approach to maintain a clean hull with Intersleek 1100SR

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    With its calm waters and strategic location at the tip of the Malay peninsula, Singapore has thrived as a trading depot and port where ships can refit and take on fuel, known as bunkering. The locally-owned barges that move from vessel to vessel replenishing them with fuel are vital to the port’s function. However, those ships, with their slow steaming speeds and hours spent idled next to their customers, are prime targets to accumulate organisms such as barnacles on their hulls, a process known as fouling.

    To combat the fouling and the additional fuel costs it causes due to drag, Singapore’s New Maritime Pte Ltd is turning to AkzoNobel’s Intersleek 1100SR for its bunkering vessel Zafar. The Zafar plies the waters of the Singapore Strait and those warm waters aid the collection of fouling micro-organisms, called “slime” in maritime parlance. Intersleek 1100SR relies on patented fluoropolymer technology to repel the slime from adhering to the hull by attacking the chemical reactions that allow it to stick to the surface. The slime that does accumulate during stationary periods is lifted away from the hull by water resistance.

    Intersleek’s value is in its longevity. As AkzoNobel’s Andrew Tan points out, “Intersleek does not contain biocides, it has high volume solids, and low VOC. It is an excellent product choice for vessels with long static periods such as crane barge and harbor tugs that are interested in an easy clean concept.”

    Tan continues to explain “The Intersleek system has been used on our customers’ tugs in   Singapore for over 11 years. It has a good track record for its easy clean properties and has shown excellent results on tugs traveling within Singapore tropical waters. Our customers’ 40 meter tugs spent approximately 2 days instead of 6 days in dock and required as little as 40 liters of Intersleek 1100SR for touch up during subsequent dockings. It can provide protection for as long as the coating is in good condition. Our longest record of a tug only requiring touch up during a dry dock is 11 years and the vessel is still performing well. And companies such as New Maritime are also aware of the dry dock, blasting, labour, and material savings they can accrue by using the product for easy clean, touch up and go during dry docking,” said Tan.



  10. The outcome of MEPC71 explained – Good news for the environment?

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    It’s rare to see a blockbuster movie these days that doesn’t spend at least some of its time setting up a sequel, reassuring audiences that although the action is over for now, they won’t have to wait long for more. It’s a similar feeling watching the results of MEPC71 (the 71st Marine Environment Protection Committee) come in. The main dramatic question, of whether the installation of systems to meet compliance with Ballast Water Management Convention (BWMC) can be delayed, has been resolved. Shipowners get a reprieve of two years shifting the treatment compliance deadline to September 8th 2019. The majority of existing ships will now have to retrofit systems by their first IOPP (International Oil Pollution Prevention Certificate) certification renewal after that date, essentially pushing the installation timeframe up to 8th September 2024. However, the D-1 discharge standard and a documented BWMC plan must be in place by 8th September 2017, when the convention will enter into force.

    As the dust settles on the BWMC, the stage is set for a new challenge: decarbonisation. The foundation has been laid for a greenhouse gas (GHG) reduction strategy, aiming for adoption of an interim strategy at MEPC72 in April next year. A seven-step outline has been agreed, but will be further discussed in an inter-sessional working group in October. As yet the plan is light on detail or specific targets. An ambitious commitment proposed by the Bahamas for the decarbonisation of shipping by the second half of the 21st century was popular, but found opposition from Brazil and Saudi Arabia.

    Reaction to the strategy has therefore been mixed. The International Chamber of Shipping has praised the move, and noted that “there is generally willingness on all sides to give [the industry’s specific proposals] further consideration at the next IMO working group on the strategy in October.”

    Others, however, were less enthusiastic. A proposal for shipping to adopt climate targets in line with the Paris Agreement gained enthusiastic support from several delegates, but did not find a consensus, disappointing the NGOs and delegations from Pacific nations who had advocated for their immediate adoption. The NGO Transport & Environment remarked that “a sense of urgency was lacking.”

    We now enter a crucial few months for the decarbonisation strategy. It will be imperative, in the run-up to April, to demonstrate what solutions are available to the industry, and to show that they are practically, and economically feasible.

    It has long been AkzoNobel’s goal to work ahead of regulation in the field of marine coatings. We were the first major coatings supplier to stop the manufacture of TBT-containing antifoulings and coal tar based epoxies, the first to introduce non-toxic foul release coatings, and now we’re leading the way on low volatile organic compound (VOC) products. As evidenced by a commitment to being carbon-neutral by 2050, decarbonisation is no different.

    As all ships must be coated, marine coatings have an integral role to play in reducing GHG emissions. Ship owners and operators using AkzoNobel’s Intersleek® range of biocide-free marine coatings, for example, have achieved fuel savings worth an estimated combined total of $3 billion since the technology was first introduced 21 years ago – saving 32 million tons of CO2. If ships didn’t use fouling control coatings, fuel consumption could be increased by as much as 40%, with current fuel use consequently rising by 140 million tonnes per year to a total of almost 500 million tonnes per year.

    MEPCWe know, however, that the push for decarbonisation must also compete with the economic realities of the shipping industry – and this means convincing a cash-strapped market that decarbonisation not only makes environmental, but economic sense. This was the thinking behind carbon credits – AkzoNobel’s industry-first scheme that rewards owners who choose to use a biocide-free foul release coating such as Intersleek1100SR by awarding them carbon credits for each tonne of carbon saved, which can then be traded or used to offset emissions in other parts of their business. This effectively rewards owners twice for choosing eco-efficient coatings; once through the reduced fuel costs, and once when the credits are awarded.

    Incentives such as these, however, do not work in a vacuum. Coatings choice is a big decision, with broad ramifications, and an often-bewildering array of variables at play. Trust and clarity is vital if owners and operators are to invest in sustainable coatings, and this requires accurate prediction and verification of performance. This is the thinking behind AkzoNobel’s Digital Voyage, a programme designed to put our coatings expertise at the fingertips of the industry, giving them what they need to make smarter decisions. The cornerstone is Intertrac Vision, an industry-first Big Data tool that predicts the carbon and fuel savings of any coating, considering a vessel’s unique operating profile. We are currently trialling Intertrac Perform – a software tool that will complete the circle by validating this performance according to the international standard ISO 19030. This will give decision-makers the insight they need to choose coatings that will save them money, and reduce emissions.

    Whatever form the IMO’s plan takes in April next year, it will remain the duty of the coatings industry to create products that save money for owners and operators, and protect the environment. We believe that we have to challenge ourselves to stay at the leading edge of sustainability, ahead of regulation. We have products and systems for shipowners and operators to create a cleaner, more economical, lower-carbon future. We call upon all stakeholders to implement these proven solutions to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and create cleaner oceans.