Ecolock is a new product from the makers of Ecospeed and Ecoshield. It is designed to protect offshore vessels for decades without the need for drydocking. Increasingly, offshore vessels such as FPSOs, FSOs, FLRSUs and others used for offshore oil and gas exploration, drilling, storage and transport need to stay out of drydock for 15, 25 even 40 years. The challenge has been to protect the underwater hull from corrosion and to provide a cleanable surface so that the biofouling that accumulates can be removed successfully and safely for UWILD and to reduce weight. Ecolock is the answer to that challenge.
For decades it has been known that glassflake reinforced hard coatings last longer, are tougher and more resilient, need less repair and replacement than any other type of hull coating. Soft coatings such as biocidal antifouling and foul-release coatings do not hold up well. They need to be repaired or replaced often which is not good news for shipowners and operators and particularly offshore operators who need to keep their ships out of drydock. Their antifouling or foul release properties require that the ship move through the water at relatively high speed. On stationary vessels the fouling simply builds up.
Since the early 2000s a hard, cleanable, non-toxic, glassflake reinforced coating has been available, Ecospeed. Ecospeed is actually a coating system which combines a hard coating with routine in-water cleaning. The coating holds up for a remarkably long time, even in the ice or other harsh conditions. It can be cleaned as often as needed and becomes smoother not rougher with such cleaning. It has been used in offshore applications.
It was found over time that a tougher version of Ecospeed, Ecoshield, is an even more effective protection against the forces of cavitation and corrosion that constantly impinge on the rudder and other running gear of a ship. Now Ecospeed and Ecoshield have acquired a cousin, also a glassflake reinforced coating, but this one intended specifically to meet the hull protection requirements of offshore vessels: Ecolock.
Ecolock is an extremely tough and durable coating designed to remain in excellent condition for 15 – 25 years without drydocking, repair or replacement. Ecolock can be cleaned underwater as often as needed to meet the UWILD and weight requirements of FPSOs, drill ships and other offshore vessels. Ecolock is the result of continual R&D on offshore hull coatings since the 1990s.
Glassflake reinforced, non-toxic, cleanable
Ecolock is completely non-toxic. It is a hard, impermeable coating which even the toughest barnacle will not penetrate. This is in direct contrast to antifouling or foul-release coatings. Barnacles and other fouling organisms attach and penetrate those coatings right through to the steel permitting the start and spread of corrosion. In the case of Ecolock the barnacles, coral and other fouling organisms can be removed completely by divers using special equipment, leaving no trace and restoring the coating to its original condition. And because it is non-toxic, it is safe to clean the Ecolock coated hull when needed for UWILD or simply to reduce the weight when too much fouling has accumulated. This can be done even in sensitive waters.
Surface preparation and application are similar to those required for Ecospeed and Ecoshield. The coating can be applied very rapidly. No primer, mid-coat, tie-coat, top-coat, corrosion protection scheme or any other complications. Ecolock is simply applied directly to the surface in two or more coats, each of 500µm DFT. Overcoating time is about three hours, depending on temperature and humidity. No special equipment is needed. Environmental conditions required are the usual ones for coating application. The vessel can be launched 24 hours after the final coat has been applied.
As long as it is standardly applied, Ecolock comes with a 10, 15 or 20 year warranty, if the coating is maintained according to the specifications. The thickness of the coating can be increased to extend its longevity. Even if minor mechanical damage does occur, because of the superior adhesion of Ecolock no undercreep will occur.
A White Paper with full details about protecting the hulls and tanks of offshore vessels is available in the Publications/Papers section of www.shiphullperformance.org for free download.