A different approach

2021 has been quite a year for Subsea Industries. There have been major accomplishments with Ecospeed for ice, Ecoshield on rudders and pitted/corroded steel of running gear that was repaired with Ecofix. The test of our coating systems comes when the vessel drydocks five, ten, fifteen or more years after the original application. One for one our longevity expectations have been confirmed, often to the astonishment of the owner or operator. You can read all the details in the main article in this newsletter.

Now we are looking ahead with major expansion plans for 2022. Ecospeed has proven itself to be the toughest and longest lasting protection against the ravages of operating in ice. For this reason increasing numbers of owners and operators of ice class vessels are turning to Ecospeed to protect their hulls. Photos of these icebreakers and ice-going ships with hull coatings intact after years of ploughing through thick ice are becoming more and more common.

At Subsea Industries we do not operate on a repeat business model, replacing the coating again and again. With Ecospeed, one application is all that a ship will need for its entire service life. We provide lasting protection for ice going ships, one hull at a time, and then move on to the next.

The same philosophy applies to Ecoshield. Once we have insulated and isolated a rudder, thruster tunnel, Kort nozzle, twisted fin or any other part of a ship that is vulnerable to cavitation damage, erosion and corrosion, we know that we will not have to redo that piece of running gear – ever. Next time that ship is drydocked, the most it will need is a small can of Ecoshield for touch-ups.

Not repeat business, but once-and-forever business. It’s a different approach.

Contact us for more information.

Belgian headquarters
+32 3 213 5318

US Office
+1 727 443 3900

All major issues solved

Our technology has solved all major problems relating to ship hull performance and protection.

We have succeeded in providing a massive breakthrough in the field of underwater ship hull performance and protection. We have done this with a combination of our line of environmentally safe coating products and a profound knowledge of underwater maintenance work and tools. The result is a substantial reduction in fuel consumption, virtually zero emission and huge time and cost savings during newbuilding and drydocking.

1. Optimized surface friction
By optimizing surface roughness to its upper limits without future deterioration or degradation, we solved the problem of hull surface friction. As the coating has a lifetime equivalent to that of the ship, its surface characteristics are maintained over the same period.

2. Fuel savings
By optimizing hull surface friction and using the best possible surface hydrodynamic characteristics, proven fuel savings over the lifetime of the ship are most often found to be in the 20-40 % range. In contrast with AF compounds that rapidly degrade over time, our coatings last. Therefore the performance of the ship does not degrade either.

3. Corrosion
We have reduced the corrosion problem to a zero effect. Ship hulls handled by us keep their sacrificial anodes 100% intact, even after prolonged periods of 5-10 years in the water. Corrosion is virtually absent on our hulls and anodes are no longer needed.

4. Cavitation erosion
Cavitation erosion and corrosion thus caused is entirely solved. Cavitation erosion damage resulting in often very expensive repairs and time loss in drydock can now be avoided entirely. 500 rudders have been protected so far with a 100% success rate over a 15 year period.

5. Anti-fouling toxic particles emissions
Yearly 1 million tons of AF toxic chemicals and heavy metals are being used and lost at sea. This extremely damaging pollution results in billions of silt and sediment remedial cost. All of this can now become a thing of the past entirely, including the cost of removal.

6. Repeated application of degraded AF coatings
This is now an obsolete routine as our coatings last the lifetime of the ship. Peak distribution of toxic materials caused by repeated applications in drydock and thus emissions in ports and rivers has been overcome.

7. Time and effort in drydock
As reapplication is never necessary, work and time in drydock can be more than halved. Planning for work in drydock can be made to be very precise as paint renewal is avoided. Only small touch-ups may be needed. Waiting for acceptable weather is no longer necessary. This allows drydock companies to deliver on time. As a result, more ships can be docked in the same period.

8. Transfer of invasive species
This has become a totally manageable and cost-effective method and poses no major problems other than the repeated cleaning in-situ of the ship hull. This process is 100% environmentally safe. Even when done frequently, its cost is dwarfed by the fuel savings thus realized. Mitigation of the transfer of invasive species and very large fuel savings, never obtained before, are achieved by the same method i.e. regular in-situ underwater cleaning or other sanitation technologies.

9. Building costs
Cost for new building ships is substantially reduced as the repairs of these homogenous coatings, easy to apply and repair, are many times more efficient. This results in thousands of man hours saved during the building process. The reapplication of AF paint for speed trials in drydock at the end of the building period is not necessary any longer as a simple underwater hull cleaning is sufficient. The latter saves more than the total cost of the coating material supplied and the ship’s speed is guaranteed.

10. Financial
As the coatings will last the lifetime of the ship, they are now part of the investment. Other accounting and financial rules can be applied than if it were a simple repetitive application and therefore returning cost. The cost of repeated application of chemicals has changed into a fixed asset, entirely part of the ship.

11. Ice-going and icebreaking ships
RRS Ernest Shackleton, RRS James Clark Ross and HMS Protector, all of British Antarctic Survey, have been coated with our products with great and conclusive results. Our coatings have also  been selected for the newbuild research vessel RRS Sir David Attenborough, the biggest commercial shipbuilding contract in Britain for 30 years. Another 150 applications on ice going hulls have shown that our coating can withstand the impact of ice for many years on end, proving its superior strength and durability.

We have optimized hull surface roughness and hence hull friction resulting in fuel savings in the 20-40% range. We have cracked all major problems in corrosion and cavitation erosion. We have halted all anti-fouling toxic emissions. We have substantially reduced the cost and time of drydocking and its peak distribution of toxic particles due to repainting work. We have provided the most adequate solution to mitigate the transfer of invasive species. We have reduced new building costs. We have formulated the best way to prevent loss of coating in ice and general arctic conditions.

The end of rudder cavitation damage

As any shipowner knows, a ship’s rudder is particularly prone to damage caused by erosion and corrosion. The problem features more prominently in high speed container carriers and other fast ships, which are more seriously affected than slower vessels. However, it is a potential problem and hazard for all ships and boats. This problem results in frequent, costly repairs to or replacement of this vital part of the ship’s underwater equipment. So far, the bulk of efforts to relieve this problem have not been fully effective.

A ship’s rudder, placed directly behind the propeller to give the ship maximum maneuverability, is particularly prone to erosion followed by corrosion. The erosion in this case is caused by hydrodynamic cavitation. The forces involved are very large. It is as if the surface affected has been subjected to repeated, heavy blows from a hammer, as well as high temperatures. This causes what is known as cavitation erosion as the surface material, first paint and then steel, begins to flake away.

One need only examine a ship’s rudder that has been subjected to cavitation to see that very severe damage is caused by this phenomenon. Rudders become deeply pitted; paint coatings and hard steel simply disappear; whole plates can fall off and the rudder practically disintegrates altogether, all as a result of this cavitation damage.

Rudder design has mitigated the problem somewhat but far from solved it. Most coatings generally fail to provide adequate protection and usually erode. The use of cathodic protection systems has no effect on cavitation erosion.

The ideal approach to cavitation erosion would be a protection of the rudder which prevented any such damage from occurring. This solution does exist and is called Ecoshield.

Ecoshield is designed for use on rudders, bulbous bows, stabilizer fins, kort nozzles and other underwater gear which requires special protection. The coating has proven 100% effective in protecting all running gear from cavitation.

Aside from some minor touch-ups, none of the rudders that were properly prepared and coated have had to be recoated, even after more than ten years. None of them have suffered from cavitation damage since the coating was applied. For those shipowners and operators who have tried this coating for their rudders, the cavitation damage problem ceased to exist.

In terms of preparation and application requirements, the coating is not particularly demanding. The surface must be grit blasted to remove any previous coating and create a clean surface. Ecoshield is applied in two homogenous coats. The second coat can be applied approximately three hours after the first one, allowing very rapid completion of the coating job. No primer, no epoxy, no tie-coat, no AF. Once applied and cured the coating forms an extremely tough and durable surface which will continue to protect the rudder for the full service life of the ship without the need for replacement.

Since the original application, over 500 rudders have been coated on a wide variety of ships: cruise ships, cargo vessels, container carriers, ro-ro cargo ships, a cable layer, a dredger, crude oil tankers, research vessels, ice-going ships and icebreakers, tugboats, a reefer, passenger ferries, bulkers and others.

Shipowners and operators can consider the problem of cavitation damage to rudders to be solved. The solution simply remains to be implemented on all ships afloat to make this vexing problem a thing of the past.

Contact us for more information
+ 32 3 213 5318

How to protect ice-going vessels for their entire lifetime

We have been coating ice-going ships for over 15 years. The technical, economic and ecological results we have witnessed are nothing less than spectacular. 


The first thing one looks for in an ice-going coating is a resistance to the ice. The reason why Ecospeed is such a success in ice is because of the adhesion to the steel. In itself the coating is not flexible, but due to its superior adhesion the coating flexes with the steel. There is no delamination and no detachment from the substrate.


Ecospeed ships do not have to be recoated. Ice-breaking (and other) ships save an enormous time in drydock. Instead of twelve days you only have to spend four or five days in dock because only small touch-ups are required. These are very easy to do, even in bad weather and any repair done to an Ecospeed coating will have the same qualities and strength as the original layers. This is even the case if they have been applied 10 or 15 years before.

A combination of the corrugation of the coating and the absence of marine growth in ice results in a proven reduction of consumption. Depending on the size of the ship, the engines used and other specifications these fuel savings can go from 10%, 20% or even 30%.

The smoothness of the coating also provides for easier breaking of the ice. The ship slices through the ice because hull friction is substantially reduced.

Ecospeed has been recognized as an abrasion resistant ice coating by Lloyd’s Register. Using our coating allows the plate thickness to be reduced by 1 mm. Ships can be build with less material and will be less expensive to build and lighter to use.


With Ecospeed on the underwater hull there is no loss of coating. There is no disbondment, no detachment and no delamination caused by ice impact. Our coating systems leave no paint behind. There is no spreading of anti-fouling toxic particles and heavy metals, because they are simply not used in our coating. Ships can safely be taken to the Polar regions without having a damaging effect on the environment or coloring the ice.

Because of the quality of the coating Ecospeed requires no use of anodes. As a result there is no loss of zinc materials in the Polar or other regions. No corrosion takes place on ships coated with Ecospeed.

When the cleaning effect of the ice is not sufficient all animal growth can be removed easily with intermediate underwater cleaning. There is no detrimental effect on the marine life. There is no chemical influence. The problem of biofouling is therefore completely handled. The animals are removed and left behind in their native environmental zone. They are not transported to another environmental zone. We promote this as a total solution because achieving this only depends on the cleaning of the ship.


Well over a hundred ice-going ships have been coated with our products with great and conclusive results. Our Ecospeed coating was also selected for the newbuild research vessel RRS Sir David Attenborough.

Over a period of fifteen years these have shown that Ecospeed can withstand the impact of ice for many years. It is not a coating system that you get for one or two years, it is a system that you get for twenty years and longer.

Contact us for more information:
+ 32 3 213 5318

Corrosion simplified and solved

We are so used to corrosion on ships that no-one raises an eyebrow at the rust-stained hulls in any port or dock. It is, apparently, considered to be the way of things.

It is true that steel will rust. But with the knowledge and resources at our disposal we have long passed the point when we should have recognized that this is a problem, and solved it.

Corrosion on ships is rarely recognized as a failure of the coating, but that is precisely what it is. The first job of a hull coating is to prevent the gradual weakening and destruction of marine assets that is caused by corrosion. It remains a massive problem for shipping despite coating repairs every few years, eating up valuable days in drydock. Not only that, but current coating compounds also leak a million ton of toxic material into our oceans every year.

Corrosion is not some unavoidable fact of life. The basics of the subject have been well known for centuries, but they are worth reiterating. The iron in a steel hull is, effectively, trying to return to the state in which it was taken as an oxidised ore. Three things are needed for rust to form: metal, water, and oxygen. Energy, the galvanic difference between metals, stimulates the process, and impurities in the metal, seawater, water vapor, acids, salts, carbon dioxide and stresses hasten it.

While cathodic protection slows the corrosion on a ship, total prevention is only achieved by preventing metal, water and oxygen from coming into contact with eachother. That is the primary job of a coating. The problem is simply that most coatings fail poorly in that task.

One reason for their failure is the permeability of zinc primers, epoxies and antifouling coatings usually used. Water can get through and behind the layers of coating where it can start the corrosion process while accelerating it by causing coating delamination. This is the sequence of coating degradation which opens the door for further corrosion.

A second reason is the use of heavy metals in coating systems such as copper. These have a high galvanic differential with the steel of the hull. In practice we see copper-based coatings degrade very quickly – their difference in potential is the highest we encounter on ships. The fact that zinc, epoxy and antifouling, all of which have different surface tensions, are used together, further aggravates the problem.

Permeability, different surface tensions, poor adhesion and heavy metals are the four main factors that lead to an inferior protection on the ship hull.

It is not difficult to see that if a coating has no heavy metal content and therefore can avoid potential differential, is impermeable to water and achieves superior adhesion, the problem is solved. If the steel hull is isolated from its surroundings, then galvanic activity and corrosion are canceled.

Our range of coating systems has achieved this.

Observation over twenty years on hundreds of ships protected with our coating systems, reveals a distinct absence of hull corrosion on any of them. We do not find corrosion on these hulls.

With our glass-flake coating systems we have the solution. Their superior adhesion, impermeability and toughness fully isolate the steel hull. Even heavy corrosive environments in port or in seawater fail to touch the anodes or the steel surface of the hull. In fact, anodes become superfluous on an Ecospeed hull.

Environmentally our coatings are a vital solution because they contain no heavy metals, no zinc and no pesticides or other biocides. Extremely high concentrations of these elements are already found in the sediments around ports, estuaries and even far out at sea. It is clear that using them on ship hulls is not sustainable.

The subject of hull fouling is dealt with in a previous article – but it should be mentioned here that anti-fouling coatings have already caused one international marine catastrophe with the extensive use of TBT, and are creating further catastrophes if their use is continued. The attachment of marine organisms to ship hulls seems to be little affected by the currently available anti-fouling materials, but the marine environment suffers severely from their accumulating toxicity.

Simple mechanical removal of these organisms from a hard, non-toxic surface is the obvious and most workable solution, provided the coating is designed to withstand this.

We have seen more than 20,000 ships  over the last fifty years – after some time they all have corroded, rough, degraded and inefficient hulls.

An amazing discovery we frequently make is that, on inspection of ships coated with our systems, we never see corrosion of any significance, even when there has been small impact damage. Not after two years, not after five years, not even after ten years. This proves that with an inert coating there is no influence on the steel, even when exposed to seawater.

The conclusion is simple: the majority of the coating systems in general use today do not protect the hull sufficiently. They should be replaced with coatings that can do the job.

Contact us for more information
+ 32 3 213 5318

Ecospeed ideal for long lay-ups

More and more ship owners are forced to lay ships up for longer periods. Having to recoat the underwater hull afterward is a justified concern. Removing the fouling that has built up will damage most coatings severely. Ecospeed however can always be restored to its optimum condition, regardless of how much fouling has attached itself to the hull while the vessel has been laying idle.

Ecospeed is ideally suited for ships during lay-ups because of its impermeability. This gives the coating its excellent and durable anticorrosive properties and protects the underwater hull against damage caused by any type of marine fouling. Despite the aggressive nature of certain types of fouling, no rust or damage to the steel will be present on the underwater hull of the vessel after cleaning.

This is illustrated by a cruise ship that remained stationary in the Caribbean for seven months. After this period Ecospeed’s qualities allowed a complete removal of all fouling from the underwater hull of the vessel. This was done during an underwater cleaning without causing any damage to the underlying paint layers.

The coating's properties prevent fouling penetration, making the cleaning process extremely easy. It can be performed underwater or with controlled high-pressure tools in drydock and can be repeated whenever needed during the vessel’s lifespan without causing damage or deterioration in quality.

The coating’s surface characteristics even significantly improve with each underwater hull cleaning. This unique quality gives shipowners the opportunity to have their ship operational again even after an extended lay-up period. The hull can be restored to its optimum condition whenever needed without any additional financial setback.

Ecospeed stays intact for 20 years with underwater maintenance

Every hull coating fouls and as a result cleaning is an unavoidable reality for shipowners. For most coatings this is a problem because they cannot be cleaned without damaging them, often very severely. Ecospeed, however, was designed to be maintained regularly while keeping the coating intact for 20 years or longer.

The best and most viable approach is to clean the ship 100% and to do so regularly and always before sailing if the ship has been stationary and has fouled for a long period.

Ship hulls must be protected with a system that lends itself to fast, effective underwater cleaning without risk of damage to the coating and without posing any kind of hazard to the environment. Ecospeed is this system.

Fast and efficient fouling control

1. Underwater cleaning improves the hull surface
With repeated underwater hull cleaning Ecospeed’s surface further improves. This procedure is made easy by the coating’s technical properties. Cleaning can be carried out whenever needed, at any point in its lifespan, without causing damage.

2. Long lay-up periods have no effect
Ecospeed is suited for ships which have a stationary period. An impermeable and impenetrable barrier is created during application. This gives the coating excellent and durable anti-corrosive properties. It also protects the underwater hull against mechanical damage. No rust or damage to the steel will be present on the underwater hull of the vessel after cleaning and this despite the aggressive nature of certain types of fouling. The hard fouling is unable to penetrate or damage the coating.

3. Toxic free
Independent tests have been carried out to authenticate Ecospeed’s non-toxicity. This research proved that the coating is 100% non-toxic. There is no negative effect on the water quality or the marine environment at any point of its application or use

4. The definite biofouling solution
The underwater cleaning of Ecospeed prevents the spread of biofouling entirely. The cleaning interval is optimized to minimize fouling. Regular cleaning prevents macrofouling from building up. At the same time it presents an opportunity to inspect so-called niche areas. Most of the fouling organisms will be destroyed during cleaning. When only microfouling or locally acquired macrofouling is cleaned off the hull and niche areas, the risk of translocation of NIS via hull fouling is minimal.

5. Underwater cleaning allowed
The results of above-mentioned tests were sent to port authorities and environmental agencies worldwide. As a result, several major ports have overturned the existing general ban on underwater hull cleaning. They specifically made an exception for vessels coated with Ecospeed.

6. Specially designed equipment
Underwater maintenance of Ecospeed is carried out with specially designed underwater hull cleaning systems. These tools remove all fouling and at the same time optimize the smoothness of the paint surface. A complete line of equipment was designed in-house. They allow divers to clean the flat areas as well as the harder to reach parts of the hull without damaging the coating.

7. Fewer and shorter drydockings
There has been a trend of extending the maximum drydock interval if a stringent set of rules is followed. One of the requirements is the execution of a very strict underwater maintenance plan. The biggest barriers are dealing with biofouling and maintaining hull coating integrity. Ecospeed allows ship owners/operators to overcome both these barriers. Our coating can easily last for ten or twelve years without any need for drydocking.


Ecospeed can be cleaned underwater without risk of chemical pollution to the environment or of damage to the coating. Ecospeed’s surface will improve in smoothness with each cleaning. Underwater maintenance prevents the spread of biofouling. For these reasons several economically important ports have already overturned the existing general ban on underwater hull cleaning of Ecospeed.

The coating’s qualities make it ideally suited for a very strict preventative underwater maintenance plan. This is part of the requirements to extend a vessel’s drydock interval.

Underwater maintenance of Ecospeed is carried out with in-house designed underwater hull cleaning systems. These allows the cleaning of the hull without damaging the coating.

Extending the drydocking interval to 10 years

Drydocking a ship is a complex, expensive, time-consuming and stressful activity, regarded by most ship owners, operators, officers and crew as a necessary evil. Time spent in drydock is time spent out of service. It is becoming increasingly difficult to find drydock time available when and where one would like it. 

Drydocking often takes a vessel well away from its normal operating route. Many different activities need to be scheduled for accomplishment during a drydocking and these activities may interfere with each other. The weather can be an important factor, particularly since drydocking usually involves painting.

That drydocking is necessary is not in question. In order to keep ships operating safely and efficiently for 25 years or more they have to be taken out of the water periodically for inspection and any needed repair. What is in question is how often this needs to occur. Technology is advancing and conditions which were prevalent twenty or thirty years ago are not necessarily present today.

Currently the usual interval between mandatory drydocking for most ships is five years, depending on type and age of ship. This has been extended to seven and a half for certain ships. A ten-year drydocking interval is a dream for most ship owners, operators, officers and crew – one which, if it could be attained, would reduce operating expenses and lower the cost of marine transport.

The challenge to extending the drydock interval

The main challenges to a ten or even twelve year interval between dockings are hull protection and fouling control. By “hull” here is meant the entire external underwater part of a ship including the wetted hull, the rudders, propulsors, stabilizers, thrusters, sea chests, bilge keels, cathodic protection system and all the other external, submerged features and appurtenances of a vessel.

The continual attack by salt or fresh water, cavitation, oxidation, abrasive particles (gravel, lava, sand), ice and occasional solid contact renders these parts of a ship particularly prone to damage, erosion, corrosion and general reduction or weakening of the steel, aluminum or other material from which they are made. Salt water is potentially more damaging than fresh.

The accumulation of biofouling in the form of plant and animal life which naturally adheres to any submerged object, manmade or not, causes the hull to become rougher and can also damage the protective coating. This in turn adds friction or drag to the hull and propellers. The result is that more fuel must be burned to achieve the ship’s cruising speed. The rougher the hull and propellers become, the higher the fuel penalty incurred. This not only shows up in higher costs to the operator but also in increased environmental impact through additional noxious gas and particulate matter emissions resulting from the higher fuel consumption. With conventional coatings, the longer the vessel remains out of drydock, the rougher the hull will become.

In addition to this fuel penalty, biofouling on the ship’s hull has recently come to be regarded increasingly as a vector for the translocation of invasive, non-indigenous marine species from one environmental zone to another. Precautionary guidelines and regulations are being proposed and enacted to combat this threat. In general terms, the more fouled the hull, the greater the risk of spreading NIS.

Answering the challenge

The protection of the hull over a ten or even twelve year period can be accomplished with Ecospeed. This coating system of hull protection and fouling control can easily last for ten or twelve years without any need for drydocking. It can keep the ship’s hull well protected and virtually free of biofouling for that length of time, avoiding the fuel penalty and preventing the translocation of NIS.

Ecospeed is non-toxic and environmentally benign. It is also cost-effective and will, when standardly applied and maintained, result in considerable savings for both owner and operator over the service life of a ship when compared to conventional coating systems.

We have published a White Paper that focuses on hull protection and fouling control to lengthen the interval between mandatory drydockings. If you are interested in receiving a digital or printed copy of this White Paper, contact us at 
info@subind.net or +32 3 213 53 18.

White Paper Abstract - Biofouling: A Proposed Solution

One hears and reads a great deal these days about biofouling also referred to as aquatic invasive species (AIS), non-indigenous marine species (NIMS), non-indigenous species (NIS), aquatic nuisance species, alien species and a number of other names. We shall refer to them here as NIS.

NIS are an economical as well as an environmental problem.

For some time the concentration on the shipping industry’s role in the spread of NIS centered on ballast water. More recently the focus has extended to include ship hull fouling as a vector of NIS translocation just as important as ballast water if not more so.

The NIS threat is increasing due to more shipping traffic and also perhaps because the antifouling systems in use since the ban of TBT have been generally much less effective in eliminating hull fouling.

It is more efficient and far less expensive to prevent the translocation of NIS in the first place than to try to clean up the damage they cause and eliminate the now-established species and prevent their further spread.

Legislation and regulation to prevent the spread of NIS via ship hull fouling is increasing in severity with some quite rigorous measures looming.

Efforts to deal with the problem to date have not been effective. It is generally agreed that in-water cleaning must be part of any handling, yet the antifouling and foul release coatings in general use impose severe restrictions on in-water cleaning. Frequent drydocking is not economically or logistically feasible.

The time is right for a thoroughly workable solution which is acceptable to governments, port authorities, environmental groups and the shipping industry. The ideal solution would also bring with it fuel savings, reduction of GHG and other emissions and elimination of the contamination of ports and oceans caused by heavy metals and other toxicants contained in traditional biocidal antifouling paints.

So far the efforts of states and ports have been in the direction of preventing ships arriving in their waters with fouled hulls and NIS. For example, the ANZECC code (currently under review) forbids in-water cleaning of vessels in Australian waters for fear that incoming vessels will bring NIS into Australia which will then establish themselves there. But forbidding in-water cleaning means that vessels leaving Australian ports, especially those that have been laid up for some time, will sail with a fouled hull and carry invasive species picked up in Australia to other parts of the world. This may appear to help with the local problem but in fact magnifies the international situation. And NIS is by its very nature an international problem.

A novel approach would be for ports and states to at least place equal emphasis on ships sailing from their port of departure with a clean hull. This would require international cooperation but the IMO is there to make sure that such international cooperation on important shipping related matters is obtained. And if such a solution also carried with it great financial benefits to shipowners/operators the world over, then it is quite likely to be accepted and adopted.

The two major barriers to effective handling of the global NIS problem are

1) the hull coatings in general use are not suitable for in-water cleaning, but in-water cleaning is an essential part of the solution to NIS;

2) in order for the NIS spread to be curtailed, ships must leave their port of origin with a clean hull and concentration needs to be on the beginning of the voyage just as much or more than on the state of the hull at the port of destination. Ships do not foul while sailing. They foul when they are stationery.

A great deal of work has been done on the subject of NIS by the IMO Marine Environmental Protection Committee’s Correspondence Group on the development of measures to minimize the transfer of invasive aquatic species through biofouling.

This White Paper outlines an existing, workable, environmentally and economically beneficial method of eliminating the threat of further spread of NIS via the ship and boat hull fouling vector using only currently extant, proven technology and methods.

If you are interested in receiving a digital or printed copy of this White Paper, contact us at
or +32 3 213 53 18.

Ecospeed offers all solutions

In 1993 we began researching and developing a new, long-lasting, non-toxic method of protecting ship hulls: Ecospeed. The coating system was introduced into the market in 2002. 

Ecospeed is an environmentally safe underwater hull coating system that improves a ship's performance and provides it with long-term protection. It consists of a unique, entirely original and thoroughly proven system that combines the advantages of an easy-to-apply superior coating, a surface treatment for hydrodynamic optimization and a long term underwater maintenance service system. Ecospeed can be applied to all types of vessels, both newbuild and existing vessels.

Ice-going vessels

The benefits for ships facing harsh icy conditions are durability, corrosion protection of the steel and resistance to impact with ice. In short: protecting the asset, the hull of the ship. Ecospeed is a certified abrasion resistant coating. Owners are allowed to reduce the thickness of the steel of the ice belt if this area is coated with Ecospeed. This gives them a significant financial benefit during newbuild projects. Ecospeed is one of only a few coatings that have received this certificate.

British Antarctic Survey’s RRS (Royal Research Ship) Ernest Shackleton is one of our best references. Ecospeed was applied to this ice-breaker eleven years ago in 2009. Since then the ship has docked several times. Only a few liters were required for small touch-ups. The second docking took place after operating for four years in severe ice conditions. Following the performance on Ernest Shackleton, the hard coating was applied in 2015 to the hull of sister ship, RRS James Clark Ross. Results were again exemplary. Ecospeed has also been applied to RRS Sir David Attenborough. The 15,000gt research vessel, which was officially named in September last year, is one of the most advanced polar research vessels in the world.

Cruise and ferry

A second focus is on cruise ships and ferries. While these vessels also benefit greatly from the corrosion protection Ecospeed offers, the efficiency of hulls treated with the coating system is maybe even more important. Ecospeed is applied once and can be cleaned as often as needed without restrictions and without damage to the coating. Even long stationary periods of six months or longer in tropic waters offer no problem. Ecospeed is designed to be cleaned. Other products also have to be cleaned, but were not designed for this. Foul-release coatings are not meant for cleaning, but to keep their speed they have to be cleaned anyway.

Cleanings are easy to organize because these ships are sailing on a fixed route. Ferries go from a to b and back and cruise vessels also go to fixed points with a schedule that is know well in advance. We can therefore easily implement a cleaning schedule. This allows owners to keep the friction of the hull low.
Environmentally safe

All members of our coating family are ecologically safe. When we started to develop Ecospeed back in 1998, this was one of our main goals. It still is.

Independent tests were carried out to provide scientific data and to authenticate the non-toxicity of the Ecospeed hull performance technology. This research proved that the coating is 100% free of toxic substances and that there is no negative effect on the water quality or the marine environment at any point of its application or use. Moreover, the massive amounts of VOC and zinc anode emission associated with conventional hull coating systems are reduced to almost zero.

Ecospeed and biofouling

The underwater cleaning of Ecospeed prevents the spread of biofouling entirely. The cleaning frequency is optimized to minimize fouling. This prevents macrofouling from building up.

Underwater hull maintenance is carried out with specially designed underwater cleaning tools that simultaneously clean and optimize the smoothness of our coatings. This can be repeated whenever needed during the vessel’s lifespan without causing damage to the coating’s surface. It even significantly improves their hydrodynamic characteristics, keeping the surface hydrodynamically smooth and producing a major saving in fuel.

Several major ports have overturned the existing general ban on underwater hull cleaning, specifically making an exception for vessels coated with Ecospeed.

Contact us for more information
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The benefits of a fast and easy Ecospeed application

Our coating systems offer many benefits to shipowners, ship managers and operators. In this article we take a look at how applying Ecospeed (or any other Subsea Industries coating) to a vessel can save much worry, time and hassle for superintendents and shipyards during drydockings, as well as save expenses for the owner.

Like all our products, Ecospeed is an extremely hard coating system with optimized hydrodynamics that can easily be maintained in service. This has a huge potential for reducing total cost of ownership of the vessel. When ships come out of the water after lengthy periods, there is no delamination of the coating from the hull, there are no paint blisters that would be indicative of anti-corrosive failure and the overall hull is still smooth. There are also the environmentally friendly aspects of the product. Studies done in the Netherlands and Canada have determined that in-water cleaning of Ecospeed produces no materials that are toxic to the marine environment.

High quality application: the secret of long-term durability

The effect of the degradation of a regular paint system and the build up of paint layers on the fuel efficiency of the ship is largely underestimated. There are very substantial benefits in stripping away all the old paint; immediate fuel savings of up to 20-30% are very realistic numbers.

When Ecospeed is applied this build-up of paint layers is ended forever. Once the hull coating has been applied you will never have to reblast again throughout the entire service life of the ship.

Surface preparation is the foundation of a coating system. As soon as you start tampering with the quality of the surface preparation, you will tamper with the total quality and as a consequence service life of the coating. For this reason at least one Ecospeed coating inspector is present and available for the painters on every job. This is to check the conditions during the application process, but also to work together with them to help ensure a very easy and smooth application. Because the inspectors are closely involved with the application, they know exactly what has happened during the coating process. This allows them to approve the 10 year warranty that comes with an Ecospeed application.

We work with our own team of highly certified and qualified coating inspectors. These inspectors have been working with the company for many years. They are not only familiar with all our coating systems, but with a wide variety of other coatings. They are very important in the cooperation with the shipyard and they make sure that the product is applied according to the required standards. This guarantees that the results will be there for the shipowner for the next ten years and beyond.

Flexible and easy to learn application process

The high standards that are demanded for an Ecospeed application do not mean that learning to work with the coating is a difficult process or that the application itself is hard to schedule or carry out.

Applying Ecospeed is quite straightforward and in general it paints like any other paint. When the specifications are followed the application goes very smoothly.

The Ecospeed coating also offers a tremendous flexibility to the shipyard. The minimum overcoating time for all our coating systems is three hours. This means that for smaller surfaces such as rudders, nozzles or bow thrusters, the two coats can often be applied in one single day.

During drydockings there is a lot more going on than just the hull coating, which can easily interfere with the planning of your project. Because Ecospeed has quick and flexible overcoating times, application can be scheduled around other work taking place. This results in minimal interference with other activities.

Ecospeed only requires two layers of 500 µm each. This is a major advantage compared with other hull coatings. A classic antifouling coating systems can easily have five or more coating layers that need to be applied and some of the newer silicone based hull coatings also consist of four to five layers of coating. Compared to this a two coat application is quicker, cheaper and more flexible.

The coating schedule can be adapted to that of the yard and it does not have to be the other way around. A traditional paint application schedule is defined by surface preparation and by the weather conditions, which are difficult to predict. The application of Ecospeed is easier to adapt to the application windows that become available. You can apply the coating quite rapidly on a prepared surface and the possible overcoat time ranges from three hours to very extended periods of time. Depending on whatever suits the owner’s or the shipyard’s schedule the second coat can be applied within a couple of hours or after a few weeks or even months.

Hassle-free planning of drydockings

The durability of Ecospeed makes the planning of future drydockings far easier for the shipowner and the shipyard. Shipowners will not have to do any repainting beyond minor touch-ups. These can easily be done during a short drydock visit, which is in contrast to the full renewal of paint layers that is needed with other paint systems.

The amount of time many ships spend in drydock is directly related to (re)painting the underwater hull. When this can be taken out of the equation for the choice of location and season for drydocking, then the story becomes a lot easier for superintendents, for the shipyards, for everybody involved.

The washable coating

The standard procedure for shipyards when a ship enters drydock is general cleaning of the ship hull to clear away any fouling and residues, especially salt residues that may adhere to the coating system. With Ecospeed the coating is always in a brand new, excellent condition after the high pressure washing. The surface texture is very smooth. It reveals without exception that Ecospeed does not need any additional paint layers.

There is also a very big difference between washing Ecospeed and other paints. With Ecospeed none of the paint material is lost. Only the fouling is removed. The coating stays on the ship instead of dispersing in the water and contaminating the shipyard and the surrounding waters.


We hope that this article has helped communicate the practical aspects of applying Ecospeed, the differences between our coating systems and other underwater hull paints and the low cost-to-savings ratio that can be obtained by using Ecospeed to protect the underwater hull of any vessel afloat today.

How Ecospeed will save you money

An underwater ship hull coating needs to be simple to apply, it needs to stay on your ship for many years with easy maintenance and it needs to save you money. Ecospeed ticks all these boxes. Choosing Ecospeed will be the last decision you ever have to make concerning your underwater hull coating.

Ecospeed was launched in 2002 and is our oldest coating type. It is used to protect ship hulls. In this article we will talk about some of the many benefits Ecospeed can bring ship owners.

Apply once, never worry again

Applying Ecospeed is very easy and can be done very fast. The coating only requires two layers. No topcoats, no primers or any other additional layers are needed. Ecospeed also has very flexible overcoating times. The second layer can already by applied three hours after the first. As a result the application can be scheduled around other work taking place in the yard or dock.

Future dockings are also far easier to plan. Ecospeed comes with a ten-year guarantee. The coating will last the full service life of the ship without need for replacement or major repair. Only small touch-ups will be required. These can easily be done during a (short) routine drydock visit. They blend in perfectly with the existing coating. Because no repaint is needed, days and up to a week can be saved in drydock times during each visit.

One of our customers said that he was able to get his ships out of drydock several days sooner with Ecospeed. Being a large cruise ship owner, this brought him substantial savings every time.

Just wash it

Every hull coating fouls and as a result cleaning is an unavoidable reality for shipowners. For most coatings this is a problem because they cannot be cleaned without damaging them, often very severely. Ecospeed, however, was designed to be maintained regularly while keeping the coating intact for 20 years or longer.

One of the many unique factors of this underwater hull coating system is that with repeated underwater hull cleaning, the coating’s surface aspect does not degrade but gradually improves. This procedure is made easy by the coating’s technical properties. Cleaning can be carried out whenever needed, at any point in its lifespan, without causing damage.

Washing Ecospeed can also be done in drydock with high pressure tools. The standard procedure for shipyards when a ship enters drydock is general cleaning of the ship hull to clear away any fouling and residues. With Ecospeed the coating is always in an as new and excellent condition after the high pressure washing. The surface texture is very smooth. It reveals without exception that Ecospeed does not need any additional paint layers.

Start saving money even before you leave dock

We already mentioned the financial benefits from leaving drydock days earlier, but Ecospeed can help you save money in other ways.

Our coating gives your underwater hull the best possible hydrodynamic characteristics. What is more, Ecospeed lasts. Therefore the performance of the ship does not degrade either. Large fuel savings are the result. This brings you huge financial profits over the lifetime of the ship.

One major cruise line has been quoted as saying that they are saving 40% on fuel costs with Ecospeed. Another cruise ship found that they gained 4 knots over sea trials speed when they replaced their hull coating with Ecospeed.

If you drop us a line, we can tell you how Ecospeed can benefit you. We will look at your specific situation and give you all the data you need. This will allow you to make an informed decision on the next underwater hull coating for your ship. You will not have to worry about this ever again if you choose Ecospeed.

Contact us for more information
+ 32 3 213 5318

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