Shipowners to remove toxic coatings

WWF and Deutsche Bundesstiftung Umwelt (DBU) present detailed alternatives
Hamburg. The today from the WWF and the Deutsche Bundesstiftung Umwelt (DBU) presented research results prove: ships, for example modern cruisers, can abstain from polluting toxins when dealing with undesirable growth on ships. The model of the dolphin’s defence mechanism using his smooth surface against algae and barnacles convinced in form of silicone coatings for fast driving ships with only short stops in harbours. The long-term study showed different successful alternatives to highly toxic coatings that are still applied. Shipping companies and owners now have a scientifically sound basis to use non-toxic ship coatings, the participants emphasised at a press conference in Hamburg.

"Finally switching to non-polluting ship coatings"

"Now, there are no longer any more excuses to use organotin-compounds like tributyltin (TBT) and other problematic biocides like copper oxide,” Dr. Peter Prokosch, executive director of the WWF Germany, said. And DBU Secretary General Dr.-Ing. E. h. Fritz Brickwedde supplemented: "It can be spoken of a real challenge for shipowners and paint manufacturers, who are now asked to finally switch to non-toxic ship coatings.”

Tiny hairs rubbing like a seal fur against each other

Successfully, also micro fibre coatings had appeared in the project: they keep away growing organisms like barnacles from the surfaces of low-speed deep-sea ships - with tiny hairs rubbing like a seal fur against each other. Non-toxic self-polishing coatings were successful among coast ships: above all they grant ecological journeys for ferries and fishing boats in the future. Here the sciences take advantage of the peeling mechanism of corals and cancers.

Further research demand uncovered

Besides the successful use of biocide-free paints for ships on all oceans, further research demand was uncovered: it was necessary to develop a criteria catalogue for the selection of the different paints for certain application areas. Additionally all paints consisted of chemical components like softening and binding agents, whose environmental compatibility was still to be tested and evaluated regarding their long-term reaction. Here first steps are pursued in a project of the German Umweltbundesamt.

One of the most detailed independent studies world-wide

The study, co-ordinated by the WWF and promoted by the DBU, was one of the most extensive large-scale tests world-wide. It was managed by LimnoMar, the Research Station Coast (Forschungsstelle KĂŒste) in co-operation with shipowners and paint manufacturers.
Research results prove: ships, for example modern cruisers, can abstain from polluting toxins when dealing with undesirable growth on ships.