The 2006 decision by the National Shipping Company of Saudi Arabia (NSCSA), to apply Intersleek® 700 on the hulls of eight VLCCs has resulted in fuel savings of more than 6% and CO2 emissions cuts running into many thousands of tonnes. The vessels are managed by Mideast Ship Management, the vessel operating subsidiary of NSCSA.

NSCSA which runs a fleet of more than 30 vessels including 17 VLCCs, took the decision to replace self polishing copolymer (SPC) biocidal antifoulings with International Paint's biocide-free silicone-based foul release coating, Intersleek® 700, when the eight ships were docked successively through 2006 and 2007. The application involved blasting the ships' hulls and coating their vertical sides with Intersleek® 700.

Since then, detailed performance analysis on board one of the VLCCs, the MV Ramlah, has proven the relative fuel savings and emissions reductions resulting from the use of Intersleek® 700 rather than the earlier SPC antifouling. The analysis covered the whole docking period prior to the application of the Intersleek® 700 system (the previous 60 months) and the on-going performance since the application of Intersleek® 700 (up to 54 months to date). The results demonstrate an overall 6.4% improvement in fuel efficiency which translates into a saving of more than 6,500 tonnes, equivalent to around $3.2 million at $500 a tonne. Corresponding savings in greenhouse gas emissions mean that more than 20,000 tonnes of CO2 have been prevented from entering the atmosphere from this one vessel. The data has been independently verified by vessel performance specialists, BMT.

“These results are very important for us,” says John Willsher, Intersleek® Product Manager. “They demonstrate that ship operators can not only benefit from substantial fuel savings but that the latest generation of foul release coatings can play a key role in shipping companies' environmental strategies as they seek to reduce emissions. As we have said previously, there are many new technologies currently under development, some quite complex and expensive which do offer potential, but Intersleek® is relatively simple, available now and these results prove the positive impact it can have.”