NEW COMPOUND LEAVES MR TANKER BARNACLE-FREE

The results of a patch test of Selektope-containing paint in Tokyo Bay after one year. (Credit: I-Tech)
The results of a patch test of Selektope-containing paint in Tokyo Bay after one year. (Credit: I-Tech)
Team Tankers' <i>Team Calypso</i> in dry dock at Sembcorp in Singapore. (Credit: Team Tankers)
Team Tankers' Team Calypso in dry dock at Sembcorp in Singapore. (Credit: Team Tankers)
Medetomidine prevents barnacle larvae from settling on hard substrates by binding to the larvae's octopamine receptor, stimulating a temporary non-fatal swimming response, even at very low concentrations.
Medetomidine prevents barnacle larvae from settling on hard substrates by binding to the larvae's octopamine receptor, stimulating a temporary non-fatal swimming response, even at very low concentrations.
Industry Database

A copper-free antifouling paint containing the barnacle-repelling active agent Selektope® has kept the hull of a 46,067 dwt tanker experiencing several long idle periods per year free from barnacle fouling as the vessel sails past month 40 in its dry dock cycle.

The vertical sides of Team Tankers’ 46,067DWT chemical and products carrier Team Calypso were coated with Chugoku Marine Paints’ SEAFLO NEO CF-PREMIUM antifouling paint that contains Selektope® during its five-year drydocking at the Sembcorp shipyard, Singapore in 2015. During the last 40 months the MR tanker has been in active operation across a wide range of trade routes globally, often sailing in global biofouling hotspots with > 25oC (up to 32oC) water temperatures where the risk of biofouling is very high. The vessel has also spent several extended periods idling in these zones.

Independent third-party data analysis has also verified the fouling prevention performance of the Selektope®-powered hull coating. At month 40, total added resistance on Team Calypso’s hull and propeller due to fouling is exceptionally low, at 16%, compared to up to 30% expected for a reference ship of similar age, size and trading pattern. Of that 16% total, added resistance on the hull accounted for 10% whereas added resistance on the propeller accounted for the remaining 6%. The development of added resistance was calculated at a rate equivalent to 0.4% per month, compared to the expected rate of between 0.5% and 1.5%. A hull inspection conducted at month 35 in the tanker’s in-water-survey schedule established that Team Calypso’s hull was virtually barnacle free with no soft fouling coverage.

Team Tankers Performance & Environmental Manager Captain Pär Brandholm comments: “Team Calypso has operated for over three years since last dry dock, and we can conclude that the fouling of the hull remains at a very low level and we hope the trend will continue being flat. We anticipate similar performance for our vessels Team Tapatio, Team Toccata, Team Tosca and Team Leader using the same hull coating containing Selektope®.”

Study reveals fuel savings

In late 2018, Team Tankers disclosed that they were comparing the hull performance of Team Calypso to other sister ships in the fleet. Hull performance is being tracked using continuous data collection and logging. Mass flow meters, and higher-grade logs have been installed on the vessels to improve measurements in combination with detailed 3rd party analysis of collected data.

According to Team Tankers, the difference in fuel consumption between Team Calypso and one of its sister ships coated with a different type of premium, biocidal self-polishing coating type is 2.4 tonnes/day. Assuming a bunker fuel cost of 500 USD/mt, this equates to a USD 1,200/day saving for Team Calypso. In terms of total added resistance on the hull and propeller, with the added resistance on the hull commonly used as an indicator of the presence of biofouling on the hull, Team Calypso registered 12% added resistance at month 36 since dry docking versus its sister ship registered 23% total added resistance at month 24 since its last dry docking.

Reduced cleaning costs

In addition to the performance effects, the hull of Team Calypso has not required any cleaning to remove biofouling to-date. Therefore, a cost saving of USD35,000 was also identified by Team Tankers for a 36-month period in the business case study.

The performance of the Selektope-containing paint on Team Calypso confirms the barnacle-repellent action of Selektope for a vessel engaged in active service that encounters significant exposure to severe fouling conditions and undertakes periodic idling activity. Following the results achieved on Team Calypso, Team Tankers International have committed four additional MR tankers to using the Selektope®-containing antifouling paints.

A stimulating compound

Selektope® (chemical name medetomidine) is a non-metal, organic compound that is added to antifouling paints. The effects of medetomidine on preventing barnacle larvae from settling on hard substrates was discovered at the start of the century by Swedish scientists in Gothenburg. It was identified that when the barnacle species Amphibalanus improvises were exposed to very low concentrations of medetomidine, which binds to the octopamine receptor, the barnacle larvae were put into temporary swimming mode and forced to swim away from the surface with non-fatal effect.

Following more than a decade of research, testing and seeking the required certifications for the use of the substance in marine coatings, bio-technology company I-Tech AB commercialised the use of medetomidine in marine coatings under the brand name Selektope®. Today, I-Tech controls the largest and most efficient source of medetomidine production and owns all IP and regulatory rights to Selektope®. In recent years, I-Tech has been successful in scaling up the production of the relatively new active agent from small quantities to multiple tons scale to meet rising demand.

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