Mitsui OSK Lines (MOL) is to adopt the low-friction Seaflo Neo hull paint developed by Chugoku Marine Paint for its environmentally-friendly shipbuilding program. It is initially being used on two car carrier newbuildings.
MOL says that after analyzing the results of an onboard test of the paint applied to a newbuilding vessel, it has been able to confirm that the new paint offers improvements in fuel efficiency compared to conventional paints. This, says MOL, will contribute to the reduction of CO2 emissions from its vessels. The company says that friction between the hull and the water accounts for the majority of resistance as a vessel moves through the water. Reducing friction drag has been shown to be highly effective in reducing CO2 emissions during vessel operation, so MOL says it is taking a pro-active stance in developing and adopting a low-friction paint as one of its environmental initiatives.
The two newbuildings adopting the new paint are a pair of car carriers, both of 6,400 standard passenger car unit capacity, built by Minaminippori Shipbuilding. The Brilliant Ace was completed on March 30, 2011, and the Eternal Ace on July 25, 2011. The adoption of this new paint is part of the MOL’s Sempaku Ishin next-generation vessel concept.
The main characteristic of Seaflo Neo is the high smoothness of their paint film surface, the result of a newly developed low-viscosity hydrolysed polymer. The ultra-smooth finish is intended to minimise friction drag, improving fuel efficiency by three to five percent compared to an identical vessel with a conventional hull coating. Seaflo Neo is also very low in volatile organic compounds (VOCs), a major source of air pollution.