Nippon Paint Marine has completed the extensive re-coating of the four-masted, steel-hulled Peking. The 109 year-old, 115.5m-long barque is coming to the end of a €32M (US$36M) three-year restoration project at Peters Werft, on the River Elbe, at Wewelsfleth, Germany
The restoration project has been challenging one, according to Peters Werft’s Project Manager Niklas Pfaff
"We must admit that we were shocked at the condition of the vessel when it came to the yard," he said.
Peters Werft restored the vessel’s original hull form and retained most of the riveted steel plates using contemporary welding and modern ship repair techniques. All decks, compartments and interiors have been restored, and masts and rigging had to be partly restored and renewed. The original steel structure had to be kept wherever possible and Nippon Paint Marine said it had to assess the compatibility of its coatings with steel manufactured more than a century ago which used ferrous alloys that are no longer in common use. Hull coating with a 25-year lifetime and capable of providing three-year overcoating intervals was required for the project, they said, and the use of an antifouling paint was not permitted.
Prior to application, the hull’s internal and external areas were grit blasted to achieve a clean, porous surface. The ship was covered during blasting to safeguard against any environmental pollution including introduction of any hazardous materials in the older coatings being removed.
Once blasted, the ship had a corrosion-resistant two-coat epoxy primer pigmented with aluminium applied to improve penetration of the overcoating and to extend the maximum overcoating interval by an additional six months.
A solvent-free, fibre-containing epoxy filler was then applied prior to the application of the topcoat to ensure the original rivets and plank overlaps, which were to remain as visible as possible, benefitted from an additional stripe-coat.
Nippon Paint Marine used its Neoguard 100 GF, a high-solid glass flake epoxy, for the underwater areas of the hull, applied in two-coats to provide a total film thickness 350µm.
Nippon Paint Marine Director Olaf Toebke said the product provides long-term protection with high impact and abrasion resistance adding that "the underwater areas had to be completely primed, protected and coated at an early stage of the restoration project to allow the temporary re-floating of the vessel."
Two 150µm coats of Nippon Paint Marine’s E-Marine A/C were then applied to Peking’s topsides, decks and rigs/masts before a finish was applied in a semi-gloss shade.Built by Blohm+Voss in 1911 for the F Laiesz shipping company, Peking shipped nitrate and saltpetre from Europe to Chile. After World War I, the vessel was handed over to Italy as part or war reparations, then sold back to F Laeisz in 1923 and resumed service until 1932 when the Great Depression resulted in its sale to a British charity for use as a training ship, registered as Arethusa II.
The vessel was a museum ship in New York from 1974 till 2015 when she was sold back to Germany for a nominal US$100. Since 2017, the vessel has been at Peters Weft in Wewelsfleth, undergoing restoration. Peking is scheduled to leave in August 2020 and become a museum ship for the future German Harbour Museum in Hamburg.