Recently the underwater hull of m/v Sen. John J. Marchi, one of the ferries owned by Staten Island Ferries was coated with Ecospeed in Norfolk, Virginia, U.S.A.
This is the second ferry owned by Staten Island Ferries that was given an Ecospeed treatment after m/v John Noblewas coated in Bridgeport, Connecticut last year. Ecospeed was also applied on one the company’s fuel barges in Staten Island, New York earlier this year and a third ferry is planned to be coated later this year.
Under normal operation, ferries have to drydock once a year to comply with classification regulations. During the busy tourist season these ferries need to be sailing so the best time for drydocking is the off season when there are fewer passengers. For this reason the majority of the ferries come into drydock for a short time during the winter months. The owner is then presented with bad weather conditions in which to perform repair work to the paint system, and often a quality paint job cannot be assured. It is therefore essential to reduce the maintenance and paint work that has to be done in drydock.
The use of Ecospeed on the hulls, however, opens the door to optimizing their fuel efficiency. Ferries sail on a fixed route, so the ports they visit and the turnaround time is known in advance. Knowing the exact schedule makes it possible to implement a stricter underwater maintenance program.
Regular underwater treatment of Ecospeed is used as a performance enhancement measure. Added drag caused by marine fouling is kept under control. Moreover, the coating’s surface texture and hence its hydrodynamic efficiency improves with each treatment. As a result, by adjusting the cleaning interval, the fuel penalty resulting from biofouling is minimized to significantly lower levels than would be the case for an SPC or foul release paint.
Restoring the performance of the hull by repainting it can be time-consuming and therefore expensive in drydock. However, once Ecospeed has been applied, this is no longer an issue. Instead, the owners of m/v Sen. John J. Marchi and any other ferry operator can optimize the hull performance, and thereby fuel consumption. This is achieved by in-water maintenance which can be done economically outside of drydock. The Ecospeed coating itself, once standardly applied, does not need to be replaced for the rest of the service life of the vessel so repainting the underwater hull will never again be a major requirement in drydock.