Petroleum shipping markets have been in a state of flux for quite some time now – with current highs and a slim orderbook currently providing reason for optimism for many, particularly those trading on spot
The current strength in freight rates has been triggered by largely unanticipated geopolitical influences, but there are longer-range supply and demand scenarios looking more balanced and new markets opening up as a result of International Maritime Organization’s (IMO) 0.50% sulphur requirements coming into force in 2020.
However, there is a risk of getting lost in the rates reverie. When the market does drop – and if history proves anything, we can expect this – prudent owners should focus on finding every possible way to build flexibility and control into their operations. This helps to ensure that their fleet is best positioned to seize new opportunities wherever they arise in future.
An important factor to achieve this is applying a hull coating that allows the vessel to trade within a wide range of speeds and activity, and which will help to optimise energy efficiencies and reduce fuel usage. Owners, managers or charterers cannot afford to be restricted by the coating applied to the vessels which can determine where they can trade, and how long they can sit idle. But currently, many vessels are not adequately equipped to sail between very warm and very cold waters or are particularly prone to the build-up of biofouling when sailing at low speeds.
A sensible solution
Hempaguard MaX is the latest innovation by leading global coatings manufacturer Hempel, and it delivers unrivalled operational flexibility, fuel efficiency and can be applied quickly, reducing time spent out-of-service. This three-coat system is a unique coatings combination that delivers even higher savings in dock as well as in service. These separate but complementary coats are Hempaprime Immerse 900, Nexus II and Hempaguard X8.
Built on the success of Hempel’s leading hull coating Hempaguard X7, the topcoat Hempaguard X8 is the driving force behind the unrivalled antifouling performance. It incorporates Hempel’s enhanced patented Actiguard® technology that combines the smoothness of a silicone coating with an improved hydrogel microlayer and active ingredient. Hempaprime Immerse 900 is an anticorrosive primer that can be applied in one coat, while Nexus II is a tie-coat technology with improved anticorrosive capabilities.
Together, they provide the same protection delivered by two standard maintenance epoxy coats. They reduce time in the dock for faster return to service and ultimately save money for the shipowner and operators. As the new Hempaguard MaX system is applied in just three coatings (as opposed to the five coats traditionally used), it can be applied much faster and reduces time in dry dock by up to two days. This saves on expensive yard fees and limits the number of off-hire days.
For most owners and operators looking to build greater control and business efficiencies into their operations, finding ways to reduce their fuel use is a business-critical concern – financially, and in terms of reducing greenhouse gas emissions. Hempaguard MaX’s improved fouling protection reduces drag and results in significantly lower fuel requirements for a vessel, delivering a guaranteed maximum speed loss of 1.2% over five years and providing up to 14% savings compared to market average antifoulings (according to ISO 19030).
The superior anticorrosive properties of the system also makes it possible for the vessel to sit completely idle for up to 120 consecutive days. It only has to move small distances before it can sit idle for a further 120 days – a timeframe that is virtually unheard of in the industry. It also means that operators are not forced into routinely moving their vessels in order to avoid bio-fouling build-up, which of course costs money. It is this flexibility, the ability to choose how best to operate to maximise operational efficiencies, that is so important to ship owners and operators, as well as the customers they serve.