Leading technical shipping journalists visited the Hydrex and Subsea Industries facilities in Antwerp, Belgium, last month, to get a greater understanding of how both companies can greatly reduce ships’ fuel consumption and create greater commercial opportunities for ship owners as well as repair yards.
After a tour of the facilities and a trip around the port of Antwerp on one of the Hydrex workboats, editors from The Motorship, The Naval Architect, Ship Repair & Offshore Journal, Marine Propulsion, Hansa, Schiff & Hafen, Drydock, Tug & Salvage and Seatrade Review were given a number of presentations from the executive team.
Kick-starting a series of seminars was Sales Officer Steven De Keyzer, who provided an overview of Hydrex’ services. He detailed the technologies developed over the organisation’s 45-year history. This was followed by a presentation from Manuel Hof, Production Executive of Hydrex’ sister company Subsea Industries. He talked about the range of underwater cleaning equipment and line of hard underwater coating systems that is offered.
A key aspect of the two-day press tour, however, was how both companies are looking to change the way in which the industry approaches ship husbandry. “Shipcare is at the point of a major step forward”, CEO of both companies, Boud Van Rompay told the journalists.
“We can for instance make ships cleanable with hull coatings that last the lifetime of the vessel. They can be cleaned as often as needed using tools we have developed in-house and which are now available for direct purchase. The combination of steel and a hard, durable glass-flake protective coating is the next step in ship hull evolution as the hull is always at optimum condition providing optimum efficiency.”
Explaining how the hard coating systems can completely prevent corrosion and cavitation erosion, the CEO said: “The coatings and hull cleaning technologies we have developed represent a momentous change to the way in which shipowners and shipyards consider hull projection and biofouling. These changes correlate directly to savings in terms of fuel consumption and operational costs, since it is well known that a smooth hull uses the least amount of fuel.”
Van Rompay and the executive team went on to explain that those shipowners that have applied the hard hull coating and carry out regular hull cleaning have experienced significantly reduced drydocking times, which frees up shiprepair yard capacity for other projects.
“Some of our Ecospeed customers have developed their own hull cleaning strategies, reducing drydocking times considerably. Recoating is simply not needed and even after sailing in extreme and abrasive ice only minor touch ups are required. It’s a win-win situation for both shipowners and shipyards,” he said.
Emphasising the company’s raison d'etre, Van Rompay revealed: “I set up Hydrex, an acronym of HYDRoEXpertise, in 1974. Hydrex offers turnkey underwater repair solutions to shipowners wherever and whenever they are needed without the need to drydock. Subsea Industries in turn was founded in 1983 to take care of the development of a range of underwater hull and propeller cleaning equipment as well as an evolving line of hard hull coating systems.”
“All services provided by Hydrex and all products offered by Subsea Industries have the same goal in mind: clean rivers, seas and oceans. This was our goal in 1974 and it still is in 2017. Water is the biggest commodity on the planet and we need to look after it to preserve it for future generations.”