Ecoshield protecting increasing numbers of rudders and running gear

Many of the world’s leading shipping companies rely on Ecoshield to protect the rudders, thruster tunnels and other parts of the underwater ship prone to cavitation erosion and chemical corrosion. Several of these companies have been using Ecoshield successfully for a decade or more. Others are newer to the product but are wasting no time in putting it to use.


We began to use the power of our coatings to protect ships from the ravages of cavitation damage back in 2004 when shipowner Ernst Russ found out that they had a severe cavitation erosion problem with the rudders of five sister ro-ro ships built in 1999. 

Grzegorz Girjat, Superintendent at Ernst Russ, inspecting the Ecospeed coated stabilizer fin of the Elizabeth Russ.

Almost magically, Ecospeed appeared on the scene. Ernst Russ began by testing it on the rudder of one ship, the Elizabeth Russ. Before they drydocked again two years later, underwater inspections had shown them that their cavitation erosion problems were over. They went on to apply Ecospeed to all their ro-ro ships with the same result, even in the case of those that were trading heavily in ice. “None of the rudders have sustained any further cavitation damage,” said Grzegorz Girjat, Superintendent at Ernst Russ. “They have been touched up where the paint was chipped or scraped, but the cavitation damage to the rudders ended with the first application of Ecospeed.”

The bulbous bow of the Friedrich Russ one year after it was coated with Ecoshield’s predecessor Ecospeed, including a winter sailing in ice.

Ecoshield – even tougher

We went on to develop an even tougher version of the Ecospeed coating which we originally named Ecospeed Strong but have since renamed Ecoshield, because that’s what it is.

To date there have been at least 700 separate Ecoshield applications to rudders, thruster tunnels, Kort nozzles, energy saving devices such as Becker Twisted Fins®, thrusters, stabilizer fins, Hull Vanes®, bulbous bows and other parts of the underwater ship hull and running gear that need special protection from the effects of cavitation.

An extraordinary fact we discovered about Ecoshield is that it need only be applied once. It lasts the life of the vessel without the need for repainting beyond minor touch-ups of mechanical damage. We found this out when ships were coming into drydock ten years after the original Ecoshield application and only needing a couple of liters of paint for retouching mechanical damage. 

Experience also showed that Ecoshield properly applied makes the use of sacrificial anodes unnecessary. This has been proven time after time.

Second coat of Ecoshield being applied to a ship’s rudder and Kort nozzle. This protection is expected to last the life of the vessel.

Veterans and newcomers

The shipowners and operators who apply Ecoshield to the rudders and running gear of their ships, either at newbuild or during routine drydocking, can be divided into two main categories: new users who are trying Ecoshield out for the first time; and owners such as Ernst Russ who have long been convinced of the efficacy of Ecoshield and continue to apply the coating to their whole fleet as their ships come into drydock or as new vessels are built.

Recent adopters

Mediterranean Shipping Company (MSC), the world’s largest container line, began systematically applying Ecoshield to their container ships about a year ago to solve cavitation erosion and corrosion damage. On most of the ship, Ecoshield is applied to the rudder and thruster tunnels. They have also coated some ships’ boottops where a tougher coating was required. All in all, over the last year, MSC has ordered Ecoshield for over 100 ships. Of these, more than half have already been applied.

Applying the second coat (red) of Ecoshield to the boottop of the MSC Vanquish II.

Singapore-based MTM Shipmanagement discovered Ecoshield in 2020 and has since applied the coating to the rudders and thruster tunnels of many of its tankers.

Athens-based Eastern Mediterranean Maritime Ltd., began using Ecoshield in 2020 to protect rudders that were suffering from cavitation damage. Since then they have also applied the coating to the Mewis ducts of several of their ships.

Sunship Schiffahrtskontor KG, a full service shipmanagement company based in Emden, Germany, is another more recent adopter of Ecoshield. They coated their first rudder in 2019 and have since done six more.

The Israeli Navy applied Ecoshield to the rudders of several of their new corvettes to stop the severe cavitation damage that showed up after just a few days of sea trials using traditional hull coatings.

DEME, leading Belgian contractor in the fields of dredging, offshore energy, environmental remediation and marine infrastructure recently applied Ecoshield to the rudders and Kort nozzles of two of its dredgers.

SCICONworldwide paint inspector verifying the preparation of a Kort nozzle for DEME dredger Charlemagne.

These and many other shipping companies are finding out, usually by word of mouth through the yards, ship managers and superintendents, that Ecoshield is something special and can solve problems that are beyond the scope of the coatings they are used to.

Long-term Ecoshield users

Of course the real proof of the effectiveness of Ecoshield comes five, ten or more years after the first application when the ship owner or operator has had a chance to see the results after one or more drydocking intervals.

Major French shipping line, CMA CGM first applied Ecoshield to protect the rudder of one of their container ships in January 2011. Since then they have continued to use Ecoshield on the rudders, Becker Twisted Fins®, thruster tunnels and bulbous bows of close to 100 ships. CMA CGM use Ecoshield on their in-service ships when they come into drydock and also on new builds so that they can be perfectly protected from the very start of their life. Just in the last year and a half, CMA CGM have applied Ecoshield to over 20 vessels.

Seaspan, the Canadian worldwide leader in independent containership management discovered the value of Ecoshield in 2010. Since then, they have experienced great success with using the coating to protect the rudders, thruster tunnels, Becker Twisted Fins® and draft marks of nearly 75 ships under their management, including many newbuilds. “We saw that no repair of the Ecoshield was needed on rudders that were coated 9 or 10 years ago…,” said Emilian Jianu, Coating Performance Specialist for Seaspan. “Compared with conventional coatings, we save somewhere between one and three days in drydock per ship… We are planning to apply Ecoshield on the rudder blade and bow thruster tunnel on all our upcoming newbuilds.”

Rudder of the Seaspan Santos 8 years after Ecoshield was applied, with no repaint during that time.

Danaos Shipping, one of the world’s largest independent container charter ship owners, traces the use of Ecoshield for their rudders back to 2008. About 40 successful applications later, they have extended the use of Ecoshield to thruster tunnels and other parts of their ships, continuing up to the present.

Danaos coated many of their rudders with Ecoshield. This is the Deva five years after the initial application, with no repainting.

There are many other long-term users. Nippon Yusen Kaisha Ship Management (NYK) began using Ecoshield for the rudders, thruster tunnels and stator fins of their ro-ro fleet in January 2013. They had such success that they have gone on to coat the rudders and thruster tunnels of the close to 30 vessels in the fleet.

Anglo Eastern Ship Management has been using Ecoshield on rudders, thruster tunnels, ICCP areas and other parts of their ships since 2013.

Höegh have coated rudders, Kort nozzles, belts, stern areas and side ramps of more than 30 of ships.

Pleiades began using Ecoshield in 2013 and continues to successfully protect its ships rudders and nozzles as new ships are added to the fleet.

The rudder of the Pleiades Evrotas after being washed down in drydock, 5 years after initial Ecoshield application (no repaint).

Lessons learned

The earliest Ecoshield users going back almost twenty years, continue to come back to use the coating for new ships or additional parts of existing ships.

The word seems to be getting around as we see some very major players in the shipping industry expanding the use of Ecoshield throughout their fleet, and others newly turning to Ecoshield to resolve their cavitation erosion problems.



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