The biofouling issue

Why is biofouling such a big problem for the marine industry?

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What are the consequences of barnacle fouling?

Present in all marine and brackish waters, once they are established these crustaceans attract other barnacles to form colonies.

When attached to a ship’s hull, their shells cause microturbulence, significantly increasing drag which is directly related to increased fuel consumption and carbon emissions. With only average levels of barnacle foulings on the hull, this may lead to thousands of dollars in fuel penalty every day.

west coast barnacles
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What is marine biofouling?

Biofouling is the term used to describe the accumulation of marine organisms on the surface of submerged nature and artificial structures.

What are barnacles?

Barnacles occur globally in all different types of water and have been studied long back in history. Barnacles are a highly specialised group of crustaceans. Initially, barnacles produce larvae. During their larva life stage, they are still mobile and facilitate further distribution. After the first so-called nauplius larvae, a seventh non-feeding larva develops: the cyprid. This is the stage which settles on a new substrate.

Where is barnacle fouling most prevalent?

Although marine biofouling and barnacles occurs in all oceans, the fouling risk is different in different areas. In general, tropical or sub-tropical waters are considered high risk areas with rapid growth and settlement of organisms. With average global water temperatures increasing, high risk fouling is expanding, covering larger areas.

The biofouling on a ship can also be influenced by a range of other factors, such as: design and construction, speed, idling periods, sunlight, nutrients and maintenance.

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Why are antifouling coatings needed?

Implementing practices to manage biofouling will assist in saving fuel and costs, reducing the risk of transferring invasive aquatic species, improve ship performance and reduce emissions of air pollutants and greenhouse gases.

Antifouling coatings are necessary to protect a ship’s hull from marine organisms attaching. Ship owners need marine coating solutions that deliver fouling prevention for vessels with differing activity levels, shipping routes and construction. The antifouling coating needs to be persistent whether the vessel is in constant active service or idling in warm waters.

Selektope is an ingredient technology for antifouling coatings. Selektope has a specific non-lethal repellent effect on barnacle larvae, which hinders settling on substrates such as the ship hull.

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