When it came to the hull coating for its newest tug, the TundRA 100, the most powerful harbor tug ever to be built in Canada, Groupe Ocean chose Ecospeed, a non-toxic, hard, long-lasting coating with very high abrasion resistance, perfectly suited to tugs and to ice-going vessels of all types. The article goes into details of the reasoning behind Ocean’s move to this innovative hull coating.
Ocean began life as Aqua-Marine, founded by the company’s present President, Gordon Bain, in 1972 and specializing in underwater work. In 1987 the company evolved into Ocean Construction Inc. and acquired Québec Tugs, Ltd. Through a series of subsequent acquisitions and expansion moves, including the outright purchase of the Isle-aux-Coudres shipyard in 1997 which was then renamed Ocean Industries Inc., Ocean has become one of the main suppliers of integrated marine services in Canada and a leader in the Canadian marine industry. The company intends to continue growing while maintaining a strong focus on its core services and its team.
The acquisitions have included a number of tug companies and Ocean has built up a fleet of tugboats, many of which are ice-strengthened and equipped to operate in the severest winter conditions. In 2005 a fleet renewal program was begun with the christening of the Ocean K. Rusby, a new state-of-the-art tug powered by Z-drive propellers. This was the first of eight new tugs.
2012 marked the beginning of construction of the harbor and escort tug, an as-yet unnamed TundRA 100 tugboat, the most powerful tug ever to be built in Canada. The new Ocean TundRA 100 is 34.2 m/112’ 2” long with an overall breadth of 13 m/42’ 6” and a 6.5 m/21’ 4” draft. With a double Z-Drive propulsion system, powered by two MAK 9M25 engines, the tug will have a total power output of 6,000 kW/8,160 bhp and a top speed of 12.5 knots. The tug has an ice class classification of 1 AS FS.
The RA in TundRA stands for Robert Allan. The new TundRA 100 tug built by Ocean was designed by Robert Allan Ltd., naval architects and marine engineers. Canada has a vast arctic frontier, an east coast subject to extreme winter conditions, and the Great Lakes which experience severe ice conditions every winter. Robert Allan Ltd. has for decades worked with clients operating in these cold weather regions. They have learned many of the secrets of designing ice capable tugs which not only meet the class rules for hull strength, but which incorporate many of the critical lessons learned to make these boats safe and practical to operate in this extreme climate. Every one of these vessels is uniquely designed for a specific set of operating conditions.
The Ocean tugboats are generally built for service in harsh, icy conditions. The coating used on the hull is very important for a number of reasons, as Patrick Chabot, Director of the fleet explains: “We have a lot of experience with hard coatings, mostly epoxy. However, with the ice conditions in our area, the protection of the vital parts of the hull such as welding seams, rudders or cavitation-prone area was not adequate or sufficient to meet the docking intervals.” Ocean have also tried specialized ice-going hard coatings but found that, “the special application requirements make it very expensive under cold temperatures.”
In 2011, Ocean found Ecospeed, a glassflake reinforced coating which is not specifically aimed at ice-going vessels but which has been found to be one of the best ice class hull coatings available. Ecospeed has been certified as an ice abrasion resistant coating which allows a reduction in scantlings of 1 mm on ice-going vessels where Ecospeed is used as the hull coating. Philippe Filion, Director of Public Affairs and Business Development explains, “In order to have a better coating suitable for ice and to limit our environmental footprint, we introduced Ecospeed in 2011. We completed two tugs and are working on another one at this moment (the TundRA 100). At this time, this system looks right for us.” Based on the success Ocean has had with the first two Ecospeed applications, Ecospeed was chosen as the coating for the new TundRA 100 tug. The main reasons for applying Ecospeed to the new tug are that it offers, “good hull protection, reduced roughness and friction due to hull corrosion, and positive environmental impact,” says Philippe Filion.
An additional factor is that tugs have a long life expectancy and one of the properties of Ecospeed is that it is applied once and is expected to stay on for the life of the hull with perhaps some touch-ups but no major repair or replacement.
Philippe Filion concludes by saying that, “Hydrex is a very important partner for Ocean. We have a good working relationship.” And the proof of the coating lies in its ability to stay on and stay smooth despite the harshest of sea environments.
It is appropriate that the most powerful tug ever built in Canada by one of Canada’s leading suppliers of marine services should have its underwater hull protected by Ecospeed, a leader in underwater hull coatings and in environmental performance.