The Norwegian Coastal Administration (NCA) has placed a significant order with Miko Marine AS of Oslo, for the supply of Salvage and Tanker kits of its unique magnetic patches.
The kits will be carried aboard all five of the NCA Emergency Towing Vessels (ETV) which are stationed around the coast of Norway. The ETVs will have the patches available for making emergency repairs to vessels with damage or hull integrity problems as may have been caused by collision or grounding or by defective valves and seals. The contract also includes an agreement for Miko Marine to provide emergency supervisory technical support in their use when and wherever required.
The unique Miko patches are already carried aboard some Norwegian Coastal Administration vessels which have used them to good effect in saving vessels in Norwegian waters. These have included fishing boats and, notably, a nuclear fuel carrier that was at risk of sinking off the coast of Norway in December 2010.
Commenting on the order, Nicolai Michelsen, general manager of Miko Marine AS said; “We are very pleased to be able to supply the NCA with a product that everyone sees as having such obvious benefits. This is not a speculative purchase by the NCA but is one based on their hard experience that has repeatedly shown Miko magnetic patches to be capable of saving ships, livelihoods and the environment. For the NCA it is a small investment when compared with the costs of the incidents that would have occurred if the patches had not been available and we are proud to be able to work closely with them whenever the need arises.”
Miko patches can be supplied individually to order or carried in packs that contain a variety of sizes. Salvage Kits and Tanker Kits each contain a range of patches that can provide temporary watertight repairs to hull damage caused by collision, corrosion or some other technical defect. They can also be used to seal damaged tanks to prevent oil escaping. The largest Miko patch made to date measured 30 metres x 15 metres. Magnetic patches can also be used to seal thruster tunnels and sea chests so that work can be conducted inside without the expense required to put the vessel in dry dock.
The simplicity of the Miko patch concept denies the technology and years of research that went into them. Each patch must achieve a powerful bond despite what may be many layers of paint or corrosion covering the metal. This is achieved by mixing rare earth particles with an exceptionally strong blend of Nitrile rubber. With a stretch strength of 9000 N per 5 cm it means that a 5 cm strip of the fabric can lift a car and is therefore more than adequate for most repair applications.
When the rare earth particles are mechanically rolled together with the rubber they become distributed in parallel lines. Because of this, when they are magnetised they become very powerful and this necessitated further study to identify the most suitable rubber compound. A soft rubber is more flexible and achieves a better seal but it can also allow the powerful magnetic particles to realign themselves and lose the benefit of being arrayed in parallel lines. A finished patch will weigh 10 kgs per square metre so an additional layer of material is laminated to the patch to provide buoyancy. With lifting lugs also fitted it can be easily manoeuvred into position under water by divers. Once in place the powerful magnetic bond can be reinforced by additional magnets if desired. These create a dependable water tight seal that will enable the vessel to remain seaworthy during passage to dock for repair.