Interscan cargo fleet benefits from Ecospeed20/07/2012
Interscan Schiffahrt is a family owned shipping company based in Hamburg. Founded in 1973, Interscan controls a fleet of 23 container and multipurpose cargo ships ranging in size from 1,723 to 11,800 dwt. The larger container ships (6,288 dwt Karin, 8,201 dwt Paphos, Pandora, Pioneer, and 11,800 dwt Elena, Pauline, Colleen) are chartered worldwide. The smaller vessels, up to 4,500 tonnes, trade in northern Europe, generally in the Baltic, either on time charter or operated directly by Interscan.
Interscan also manages 17 vessels belonging to closely associated companies.
All Interscan owned or operated vessels carry International Safety Management (ISM) and International Ship and Port Facility Security (ISPS) certification.
Until 2005, all those ships trading in ice in the Baltic region went through a cycle of having all their bottom paint scraped off by the ice each winter and having to drydock and repaint every spring. The paint used was a standard epoxy coating.
In 2005 the then superintendent engineer came across Hydrex and Ecospeed. He agreed to test the environmental and fuel saving benefits of Ecospeed, a novel environmentally benign, hard coating system. MV Patriot was their first ship coated. According to Michael Tensing, in charge of chartering at Interscan, the Patriot was in need of a full reblast at the time due to the built up of multiple layers of epoxy, so the time was right to prepare the hull fully and try Ecospeed.
The Patriot is an 82.3 m LOA, 12.5 m beam, 3000 DWT, ice class E2/Finnish 1B general cargo vessel with a 4.95 m draft and a design speed of 11.5 knots.
In June 2005 in drydock in Klaipeda, Lithuania, the underwater hull of Interscan’s MV Patriot was blasted down to white steel and was then given two coats of Ecospeed, each about 500 microns thick.
Two other Interscan vessels were similarly coated.
The first was the Karin, a 6,288 DWT, 100 m LOA ice class E3/Finnish 1A general cargo vessel. Ecospeed was applied in September 2006 in Husum, Germany.
The second was the Phantom, the 3,220 DWT 82 m, ice class E3/Finnish 1A general cargo vessel. Ecospeed was applied in June 2007 in Klaipeda, Lithuania.
The Patriot was docked in November 2006 and after a year of trading in ice, there was virtually no damage whatsoever to the coating, in strong contrast to Interscan’s previous experience with underwater hull coatings. It is now seven years since Ecospeed was applied on the first Interscan vessels. Michael Tensing says, “Now we are in 2012, she was here recently and the paint still looks good. That’s the best advertisement you can have. You don’t have to do much to the paint. It’s only a can of paint for touch-ups, just cosmetics at the anchor pocket or if you have mechanical damage or something. The rest to my mind is really very good.” As he points out, there really is no other coating that could stand up to seven years of trading in ice and still remain intact and not in any need of repainting or anything beyond very minor touch-ups.
The success with the first three ships led to the further application of Ecospeed to four newbuilds in 2008 and 2009 in Gdansk, Poland: the Paivi, February 2008, the Tim, June 2008, the Pernille, October 2008 and the Widor, January 2009. All these ships have 3,450 dwt, all have ice class E 3/Finnish 1A, all are just over 82 m LOA general cargo vessels.
Above ships were coated with Ecospeed at newbuild stage which is the ideal time to apply the coating, giving Interscan a total of seven ships using the Ecospeed system on their underwater hull.
So, how has it worked out?
Interscan and Ecospeed, seven years on
Michael Tensing who runs the chartering operations for Interscan and who ultimately took the decision to apply Ecospeed to the Interscan ships, has no regrets about his decision:
“We had a special survey at Frederikshaven on the Phantom, 3,220 tonner, last year after the winter. I can tell you that was quite a surprise to the shipyard at Frederikshaven. We were the worst client the shipyard ever had! All that was required was simply cleaning. The paint job consisted only of one bucket for touch-ups. To my mind, for the Baltic it’s the best product I have ever seen.” That was after four years of trading in ice every winter.
When the first Ecospeed application was done in 2005, Interscan crunched some numbers and worked out that if the Ecospeed coating lasted more than 3.8 years without needing replacement, the company would have made the payback on those first ships and be making money. That time period has been greatly exceeded for the first three.
Michael Tensing estimates that at current rates the payback for full hull preparation and coating with Ecospeed for a newbuild would be five years. Since Ecospeed properly applied is guaranteed for ten years and expected to last the full life of the ship, the economic factors are very positive. And these figures only take into account the cost of preparation, paint and application, compared to the conventional coatings they were using, without regard to potential fuel savings from correct use of Ecospeed. All the Interscan Ecospeed coated vessels will soon have exceeded the payback period. So far all the ships have kept their coating in excellent condition.
“If I look at the market and what we have had to face in the last four years, it was exactly the right time because there’s no money for anything these days,” continues Michael Tensing. “The earnings are very low and if you do it at the time you have the money and invest it then, and see that the product is long lasting then you have the benefit later on. It was definitely the right decision.”
The Patriot and the Karin have both had in-water cleaning since the coating was applied. Ecospeed is a system which combines the hard coating with routine cleaning. In the case of the Baltic, very little fouling is seen to attach and this is cleaned off when the ship sails in ice in winter. The Karin is trading in tropical waters, however, and the hull became fouled, as is expected with a non-toxic coating. The hull was eventually cleaned by Hydrex in Trinidad and she immediately went back to her design speed of 15 knots.
Less time in drydock
“To my mind anyway another major benefit [of Ecospeed] is that when you go into drydock you don’t have to rely on the weather anymore which sometimes holds you back in dock. If it’s raining for two weeks or so then you cannot leave due only to this point of repainting, because you completed all the other work. It makes less than no sense. From that respect alone I would always do it again.”
Michael Tensing predicts that as Ecospeed becomes better known and charterers find out that you only have to clean the coating, not repair or replace it regularly in drydock, they will see the advantages and it will become normal for owners to apply Ecospeed to their ships when they are built.
“I would do it all again,” says Michael Tensing. “If the time is right and you have the liquidity then to my mind for sure it’s the right thing to do for a newbuilding, especially if you operate in cold waters. Even with the warm waters, if it lasts longer than five years and if it’s heading for ten years then it’s a huge benefit.”
“With our ships you can be certain we will keep them for some time to come and will continue to monitor the state of the hull and report this on an ongoing basis.”
We look forward in years to come to hearing that the Ecospeed on the hulls of the Interscan ships is continuing to remain intact and in good shape.
(A PDF of this article, with many pictures can be found by clicking on this link.)Back