Ship maintenance is of capital importance, always to be taken into consideration even if the ship safely steers away from accidents. Just navigating the seas degrades the hull, suffering abrasion and corrosion. Adequate maintenance and repairs does more than embellish the ship, it favours a more efficient sailing with less friction. The vessel carries itself better, gaining speed and displacement, important aspects in a world where sea freight and tourist cruises have kept growing in number.
Deterioration of hull
The causes behind the degradation of the ship’s hull range from those that are natural, like the friction caused by sea water on the hull, corrosion, collision with small floating objects, scratches on the paint due to mooring operation, etc.
Corrosion is a natural process which as a result, reduces metallic elements back to their original state. Those components are destroyed in the process, damaging machinery and structural elements. Corrosion occurs when oxygen comes in contact with humidity over a metallic surface. Not to be confused with oxidation, although they are similar chemical reactions. The actual size of the metallic area affected is of no importance, corrosion will eventually damage and destroy it in time so the process must be prevented.
Factors accelerating corrosion:
Proximity of different metals.
Internal composition of the metals.
Mechanically originated surface deformation.
Biodegradation and the effects of biofouling and corrosion on a ship’s hull
In order to prevent fatal damage to the hull of the ship, and to the materials it is made of, the corrosion must be anticipated and early signs corrected. Corrosion is the main culprit behind the degradation of the hull and if we analyse the causes we will find biodegradation affecting the structure itself, that is the effect produced by the varied biological elements found in the environment.
This biodegradation is produced by microbiological organisms adhering to the hull and affecting its health and its performance, the presence of said organisms and its growth oppose the correct motion of the ship. It is also known as biofouling.
When attached to the hull, the buildup of microbiological organisms affect the integrity of the metal and pose a significant problem to the hull structure. Its irregular accumulation on the hull alters its hydrodynamic quality and leads to increased drag. Also, when these biofouling particles are detached from the hull, paint and other insulating materials are removed too and the metal is exposed to the elements, favouring corrosion.
To prevent the growth of these harmful organisms and remove biofouling the use of antifouling paints is recommended and proper hull cleaning and maintenance is to be conducted periodically.
Mechanical deterioration and damage
The nature of navigation itself is a cause for the deterioration of a ship’s hull:
Friction corrosion. It is the deterioration produced at the interface between the two surfaces in contact, the metal and the circulation of water.
Erosion. When the circulating water finds a weak spot on the hull’s surface.
Cavitation corrosion. It occurs when a metal element in contact with liquids is subject to vibration. This type of corrosion occurs in turbines, or in the area of the propeller and adjacent surfaces.
Protecting the hull
A vessel at sea is prone to corrosion by environmental factors. In order to prevent corrosion and the damage and problems associated with it, periodical maintenance is necessary. The good health and optimal performance of the ship depends on it.
The marine transportation business works a tight schedule with strict deadlines, and it needs a trustworthy partner that provides coordinated, efficient ship maintenance services returning the vessel back to operations in the shortest possible time. New ships need maintenance too: deep cleaning of silicones, painting and polishing of hull and decks… The healthy life cycle of the ship depends on it.
Suisca Group provides the means and staff to properly clean and maintain the hull and decks of your ship, we are one of the main experts in vessel maintenance services.
Protection against corrosion
Suisca Group’s ship maintenance personnel have the experience and the means to protect the hull of your vessel against corrosion.
The process of painting demands care to achieve a coat made of several layers protecting the hull from the environment. It is the last step and it’s preceded by a deep clean and polishing, and followed by priming to cover up scratches and imperfections and to provide a homogenous background for the paint job. The quality of this phase of the work determines the efficiency the paint will have in protecting the hull of the ship.
Anti-fouling paint contains biocides and is applied to the hull of a ship to slow the growth of seaweed and subaquatic organisms. These organisms attach to the hull, damaging it and negatively affecting the efficiency and performance of the vessel. Absolutely essential for every ship and particularly vessels that spend long periods of time anchored or moored at port.
Suisca Group is the big specialist in deep cleaning and maintenance of vessels, merchant or cruiser. Suisca Group also provides all the offshore services needed, safety and security, provisions or navigation as well. We invite you to get in touch with us and learn about our services and how to hire them.
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