Chemical tanker operators face a growing challenge in choosing the best cargo tank coatings. An increasingly diverse range of cargoes, some of them commonly known to be aggressive, can now be shipped in special coated tanks and may not need stainless steel containment. However, the carriage of many of these cargoes can still be tricky  [Panagia-Thalasini] and that is why many operators of coated vessels in this specialised sector have stuck with the solutions they are familiar with. Traditional phenolic epoxies, for example, are prone to cargo absorption, which can lead to operational challenges, including repeated tank cleaning and cargo sequencing restrictions.

Issues relating to the carriage of chemicals include a requirement for meticulous tank cleaning between cargoes to reduce the chance of contaminating subsequent cargo shipments, adequate recovery periods between aggressive cargoes, and the continuing risk of off-hire. These issues come on top of the strict application procedures required by many coatings, which include correct surface preparation, constraints regarding temperature and humidity and, critically, curing time. Ships can remain off-hire for up to a week, for example, while some coatings cure. Coating adhesion and cracking can be the expensive result of poor attention to application detail.

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Solution

Interline 9001 cargo tank coating is making significant inroads into the market for several reasons. The product is more robust to handle more types of chemical cargoes and provides greater operational flexibility than traditional phenolic epoxies, broadening the range of cargoes that can be carried. In addition, Interline 9001 is proving attractive because of AkzoNobel’s global network of trained and experienced technical service representatives (TSRs). These experts are permanently on hand in key locations to ensure that the product is handled safely and applied correctly, under the right conditions. They also provide guidance on the most appropriate operational procedures for the project.

With over 500 TSRs, this ongoing support is an invaluable component of the service, which we provide. Typically, TSRs are permanently stationed at key building and repair facilities around the world, and experts are also made available at specific locations when the need arises.

Solution in practice

A number of owners have opted to replace existing coatings with Interline 9001. They have been persuaded by a combination of positive feedback on Interline 9001, increased ship efficiency resulting from easier cleaning, and support from TSRs.

One recent newbuilding project, in particular, demonstrates how Interline 9001 is gaining ground. Spanish chemical tanker operator, Marflet Marine, has chosen Interline 9001 for two newbuildings just built at 3.Maj Brodogradili┼íte and fitted out at Uljanik Pula in Croatia. The deal has involved application of the coating to eighteen cargo tanks and two slop tanks on board the recently delivered Panagia Thalassini, with the same requirement for a sister vessel Santiago I, due for delivery soon.  If the coating meets expectations, other ships in the Spanish owner’s six-ship fleet could well have tank coating upgrades when drydockings fall due.

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Marflet Marine’s Representative at Uljanik Shipyard, Captain Pedro Neira, has been positive about the AkzoNobel’s service throughout. With 26 years of experience in  [TSR] this specialised sector, and 45 years overall experience in Tanker sector, he knows what he wants. Initially he was impressed with the product itself – Interline 9001’s extremely smooth and shiny surface and in his own words “an appearance like Chinese porcelain”.

Captain Neira was subsequently impressed with the support he received from AkzoNobel’s team on the ground. This was particularly important because Marflet had traditionally used another manufacturer’s cargo tank coatings. This is the first time that the company has worked with AkzoNobel on tank coatings. Furthermore, shipyard personnel were not familiar with Interline 9001 and technical support and guidance from AkzoNobel was valuable here too.

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“The TSRs were very helpful and patient, and explained clearly to shipyard personnel what the application of Interline 9001 required. Of course, the fact that AkzoNobel’s TSRs speak the language is a great help, but nothing was too much trouble. I was very impressed,” Captain Neira commented.

Conclusion

Ship operators in this sector are cautious about changing cargo tank coatings because there are high risks attached. Cargo contamination, cargo tank coatings failure
and the risk of off-hire are major issues for chemical tanker owners, with huge financial implications. One incident with a charterer or cargo owner is one too many.

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Interline 9001 was introduced to the market in 2011 with emphasis on partnership approach. Solid and lasting relationships between AkzoNobel’s TSRs and vessel’s fleet superintendents and other technical personnel are essential. In fact, that is a key element of our offering.

Interline 9001 is a step-change in cargo tank coating technology, and the coating, together with AkzoNobel’s TSR support, is an unbeatable combination.

@ Derrikq Goh (Segment Manager for Cargo & Coastal/Navy/Inland)

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