Evaluating the best antifouling coatings.
"We do not want to cause the spread of marine pests established in Auckland around the rest of NZ."
- We are evaluating commercial and experimental antifouling coatings.
- Testing involves static coupon and ship-based trials.
- Future research will be into improved cleaning and inspection technologies.
The growth of fouling organisms on the hulls of vessels is a serious issue for the RNZN. The potential for transfer of marine pests prevalent in the Waitemata harbour to other areas of New Zealand means all vessels are inspected and sometimes cleaned before leaving on operations. A similar inspection is also undertaken before returning to New Zealand waters to ensure no exotic organisms are on the hull. Aside from biosecurity issues the presence of fouling on vessel hulls creates considerable drag resistance and increases fuel costs for running the vessel.
Naval vessels have a different operational profile to commercial vessels with periods of high activity interspersed with significant idle periods. This means many antifouling coatings that rely on frequent vessel movement to prevent the fouling do not work well for the RNZN.
We are evaluating the performance of a number of commercial and experimental antifouling paints or coatings to determine their potential use for the RNZN. Testing involves static coupon and ship-based trials. Future work will focus on prevention of fouling in niche areas of the hull and research into improved cleaning and inspection technologies.