Prevent and Control Ship Corrosion With Protective Coating

Corrosion has been a common cause of damage in ships for years. It can cause the body of the ship to deteriorate, destroy tanks, and much more. Fortunately, it’s manageable when you know how to prevent and control ship corrosion.

As they travel through rough sea conditions, ships are subject to immense stress. They must be flexible enough to withstand these extreme conditions without cracking. The coatings on the hulls, decks, or structural components must be flexible enough to withstand the twists and turns of ocean movement and not crack. To achieve this flexibility, protective coatings can be modified. However, they must not exceed their dry film thicknesses (DFT). This will cause cracking and delamination.

Apply Coatings

Ship CorrosionOne of the most effective ways to prevent and control ship corrosion is to apply protective coatings to parts that are most susceptible to corrosion, such as the hull. This area of the ship sits below the waterline, so it experiences more exposure to damaging salts and minerals. Applying epoxy or a polyurea and a vinyl tar coat can help to protect it.

The deck is also susceptible to corrosion, especially during severe weather. During storms or strong tides, seawater can wash up on the deck which will lead to surface damage. Repainting the deck can help to remedy the damage, but it’s best to apply an alkyd and chlorinated rubber coating to ensure protection from seawater and everyday wear and tear.

Corrosion in cargo tanks is another commonality. This happens when the sulfur and water in crude oil mixes with water vapor. Microbes can break down the tank’s protective coating in these cases.w

To protect and preserve the integrity of the vessel, many new methods of coatings have been added to the list of possible fixes. In fact, a Bloomberg article states that tanks with these coatings could save about $240 million in maintenance for 10 to 20 years.

Cargo ships don't have any special requirements for coating, but specialty tanks such as ballast tanks, potable waters tanks, oil tanks and chemical tanks require a great deal of skill to apply the coating thickness to meet the specifications. These tanks have corners, angles, edges, and other fixtures that require special attention when applying stripe coatings and/or edge resistive coatings.

Coating In Difficult Areas

Many structural members are required to ensure the integrity of double bottoms or double sides in collisions or other accidents that place large impacts on them. These compartments are usually quite small in comparison to tanks. Therefore, the painter will need to be able to apply the correct DFT in and around braces and angles.

Cofferdams look similar to tanks, but they are void areas that are used to make separate structural supports for cargo tanks. This allows the tanks to be relatively free from structural members. Cofferdams have small areas and many structural members. It is therefore difficult to paint. These spaces must be ventilated, as they are subject to high humidity and salty air. It is hard enough to paint during a new build, but it is much more difficult when you have to maintain the space.

Pipe racks and cable trays are easier to access than double bottoms and cofferdams. However, space is often clogged with cabling and pipes, making it difficult to prepare the surface for coating and apply the protective coating.

The catchall for everything that flows on a vessel are the wet bilges. The wet bilge, which is the lowest part of the ship, is where all spillages and other liquids are collected. This compartment is smaller than the double bottoms and cofferdams. It is very difficult to use standard abrasive blasting equipment for maintenance. Special solvent-free epoxy coatings can be used in the new buildingew area to ensure 15-year maintenance cycles. When maintenance is required, epoxies that are oil-, water- and surface-tolerant can be used.

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