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New non-stick hull serves up environmental benefits

(16 December 2019) A new high tech paint coating is set to make CalMac ferry MV Loch Seaforth more fuel-efficient.

Vessel owner Caledonian Maritime Assets Ltd (CMAL) carried out the repainting work during recent annual dry dock maintenance in Birkenhead. The work involved completely blasting the hull back to bare steel and repainting with a new low emission, fuel saving coating.

The silicone based paint, called Jotun Seaquest, uses cutting edge anti fouling technology to keep the vessel free of barnacles and other debris that attaches to the hull while at sea. 

‘This new non-stick hull uses a coating that makes it much harder for organisms to attach themselves to the vessel, making it more streamlined. This means it requires less fuel to maintain its normal operational speed,’ said CalMac’s Director of Operations, Robert Morrison.

A further environmental benefit is the coating is free from harmful chemicals, so unlike standard anti-fouling coatings avoids pollutants leaching into the sea. 

MV Loch Seaforth carries out approximately 2500 sailings between Ullapool and Stornoway every year, around 132,000 sea miles annually.

John Salton, Fleet Manager at CMAL said:

‘The new coating will help to reduce future dry dock periods and hopefully allow a quicker return to service.  We will monitor the performance of the new coating over the next year and we may consider applying it to other vessels in the fleet.’

The 7800-tonne MV Loch Seaforth was launched in 2014 and can carry more than 700 passengers and 143 cars.

The vessel is the largest in CalMac’s 33 strong fleet that supports 49 routes to island and remote mainland locations across the west coast.

As well as general overhaul maintenance work, the vessel also had a main engine strip down and service during her time in dry dock. 

The new paint job is guaranteed to keep the hull debris free for at least five years.