Gibraltar shipyard Gibdock recently hosted the Vulica Shipping Company-owned bulk carrier ‘Donald M James’ for a 30-day project which brought a first opportunity to work with a new type of coating from GIT Coatings (Graphite Innovation & Technologies Inc).
The 229m long ship entered Gibdock’s No.1 Dock for extensive works, including renewal to cargo holds, piping, thrusters, tail shafts and rudders.
GIT says that its hard foul release coatings enjoyed a breakthrough year in 2023, due to graphene’s impact resistance and the absence of biocides, ultra-low VOC content, as well as a smooth finish which minimises drag and cuts ship emissions. Self-cleaning at 10-12 knots, the hull coating XGIT-Fuel is said to boost ship efficiency by 7%-10% and can be applied in wide-ranging yard conditions, from -5 deg C to 40 deg C .
Richard Beards, MD Gibdock, said: “In line with revised International Maritime Organization targets on GHG emissions for 2030, 2040 and 2050, Gibdock continues to seek out work that enables decarbonisation in shipping. In this case, we renewed our relationship with Wilhelmsen Ship Management, which approached us on behalf of the owner to take on our first graphene-based coatings project. Donald M James was redelivered on time, on budget and to what GIT’s inspectors considered exceptional standards.”
XGIT-Fuel topcoat was applied to the ship’s vertical sides, with XGIT-Prop applied in three layers to the 7.3m propeller after grit blasting.
John Taylor, Operations Director, Gibdock said: “No special hoses or spray tips were required; our team handled this job as a routine part of the project.”
Gibdock, now part of the UK-based engineering group Balaena focuses on sustainability, with a workload including multiple exhaust gas scrubber and ballast water management system retrofits, LNG-fuelled engine servicing and installation of energy saving devices.
Beards said: “Our role is to support shipping as it responds to the IMO’s decarbonisation targets and the EU’s Green Deal directives. The picture on future fuels is confused, while making the right investments on sustainability also depends on a vessel’s type, age and operating profile, among other factors. Yards need to be flexible and ready to offer customers the full range of options, whether their priority is alternative fuels, energy saving, emissions abatement or carbon capture.”
Coatings supplier GIT added that the innovative project had been initiated by owner Vulica, whose proactive approach to energy-saving and sustainability had led on to a swift greenlight. Gibdock was able to demonstrate agility in accommodating the ship at short notice, following a change in plans from the initially scheduled drydock.
Maiko Arras, Director Business Development Europe, GIT Coatings said: “This project ranks as another successful application thanks to all the partners involved, reinforcing the growing reputation of our hard foul release coatings as one of the simplest ways to improve vessel efficiency and protect the environment.”
Gibdock has now added to its environmentally-responsible ultra high-pressure water systems for hull cleaning with its own reverse osmosis plant to supply industrial-grade water. Gibdock also recently extended its shore power connections for ships in the yard to include three 360Hz frequency converters as part of broader investments in its electricity network.