Antarctic ship proves paint durability

30 Aug 2011
‘RRS Ernest Shackleton’ in action in the Antarctic

‘RRS Ernest Shackleton’ in action in the Antarctic

Belgian company Ecospeed reports that when British Antarctic Survey's RRS Ernest Shackleton was drydocked recently in Denmark, checks on the condition of the hull paint showed it to be virtually intact.

After two seasons of breaking ice up to 2.5m thick with a high content of gravel and volcanic lava adding to its abrasiveness, the hull coating was almost undamaged. This, says Ecospeed, was in contrast to the ship's previous drydocking, when almost the entire hull, bearing a conventional ice-going underwater hull coating, was practically stripped to bare, unprotected steel.

During Ernest Shackleton’s 2009 drydocking, the hull was newly coated with Ecospeed’s glass flake vinyl ester resin underwater hull coating, which the company claims is proven to have extraordinary anti-corrosion protective strength and flexibility. Even though Ecospeed is not intended specifically for ice-going ships and icebreakers, the maker says that it consistently outperforms specialised ice-going ship bottom paints.

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