Gibdock Skillset to Include Graphene-Based Fouling Release Coatings
A seamless application of shipping’s first antifouling coating to successfully integrate highly durable graphene provides further evidence that c remains ahead of the curve as a shiprepair and conversion yard geared up for the sustainable maritime future.
The Gibraltar yard recently hosted the Vulica Shipping Company-owned bulk carrier Donald M James for a 30-day project which brought a first opportunity to work with a new type of coating from GIT Coatings (Graphite Innovation & Technologies Inc). The 229m length ship entered Gibdock’s No.1 Dock for extensive works, including renewal to cargo holds, piping, thrusters, tail shafts and rudders.
GIT’s hard foul release coatings have had a breakthrough year in 2023, due to graphene’s impact resistance and the absence of biocides, ultra low VOC content, but also because their smooth finish minimises drag and cuts ship emissions. Self-cleaning at 10-12 knots, the hull coating XGIT-FUEL boosts ship efficiency by 7-10% and can be applied in wide-ranging yard conditions, from -5oC to 40 oC .
Richard Beards, Managing Director, Gibdock, said that the Donald M James project fully aligned with the yard’s strategy for supporting owners to retrofit, apply and integrate solutions that benefit ship efficiency and sustainability.
“In line with revised International Maritime Organization targets on GHG emissions for 2030, 2040 and 2050, Gibdock continues to seek out work that enables decarbonisation in shipping,” he said. “In this case, we renewed our relationship with Wilhelmsen Ship Management, which approached us on behalf of the owner to take on our first graphene-based coatings project. Donald M James was redelivered on time, on budget and to what GIT’s inspectors considered exceptional standards.”
Gibdock’s coatings team took the application of the patented coating formulation in stride, said John Taylor, Operations Director, Gibdock. XGIT-FUEL topcoat was applied to the ship’s vertical sides, with XGIT-PROP applied in three-layers to the 7.3m propeller after grit blasting. “No special hoses or spray tips were required; our team handled this job as a routine part of the project,” said Taylor.
Located at the crossroads of the Mediterranean and the Atlantic, Gibdock has consistently delivered on sustainability. Its workload has included multiple exhaust gas scrubber and ballast water management system retrofits, LNG-fuelled engine servicing and installation of energy saving devices.
“Our role is to support shipping as it responds to the IMO’s decarbonisation targets and the EU’s Green Deal directives,” said Beards. “The picture on future fuels is confused, while making the right investments on sustainability also depends on a vessel’s type, age and operating profile, among other factors. Yards need to be flexible and ready to offer customers the full range of options, whether their priority is alternative fuels, energy saving, emissions abatement or carbon capture.”
Coatings supplier GIT added that the innovative project had been initiated by owner Vulica, whose proactive approach to energy-saving and sustainability had led on to a swift greenlight. Gibdock was also able to demonstrate agility in accommodating the ship at short notice, following a change in plans from the initially scheduled drydock.
“This project ranks as another successful application thanks to all the partners involved, reinforcing the growing reputation of our hard foul release coatings as one of the simplest ways to improve vessel efficiency and protect the environment,” said Maiko Arras, Director of Business Development Europe, GIT Coatings.
Gibdock’s focus on sustainability has been redoubled under the ownership of Balaena, the UK-based sustainable engineering company which took over the yard last year. Gibdock has since added to its environmentally-responsible ultra high-pressure water systems for hull cleaning and now has its own reverse osmosis plant to supply industrial-grade water. Gibdock also recently extended its shore power connections for ships in the yard to include three 360 Hz frequency converters as part of broader investments in its electricity network.
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