Gibdock Sets Sail into the Future: Pioneering Graphene Coating Revolutionizes Maritime Efficiency

Vulica Shipping Co.’s Donald M James Project Marks a Milestone in Sustainable Shipyard Practices

loading a large-capacity vessel with grain

The renowned Gibraltar shipyard recently played host to a groundbreaking maritime initiative as it welcomed the Vulica Shipping Co. bulk carrier, Donald M James, for a comprehensive 30-day project. This undertaking marked the first collaboration with Graphite Innovation & Technologies Inc. (GIT Coatings), introducing a new era of coatings application in the maritime sector.

The 229-meter-long Donald M James entered Gibdock’s primary dry dock for an extensive overhaul, encompassing crucial aspects such as cargo hold renewal, piping enhancements, thruster optimization, and rudder modifications. The highlight of this project was the application of GIT’s revolutionary hard foul release coatings, capitalizing on the impact resistance of graphene, biocide absence, ultra-low volatile organic compound (VOC) content, and a drag-reducing smooth finish that significantly diminishes ship emissions.

In 2023, GIT’s hard foul release coatings have emerged as a game-changer, promoting ship efficiency by 7-10% with the application of the XGIT-FUEL hull coating. This coating showcases self-cleaning capabilities at speeds between 10-12 knots, making it a versatile solution applicable in a broad range of yard conditions, spanning from -5° to 40°.

Richard Beards, Managing Director of Gibdock, expressed the alignment of the Donald M James project with the yard’s overarching strategy. He emphasized Gibdock’s commitment to supporting ship owners in implementing solutions that enhance both efficiency and sustainability, echoing the revised International Maritime Organization (IMO) targets on greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions.

John Taylor, Operations Director at Gibdock, lauded the seamless application of GIT’s patented coating formulation by the coatings team. The XGIT-FUEL topcoat found its place on the ship’s vertical sides, while the XGIT-PROP was meticulously applied in three layers to the 7.3-meter propeller after grit blasting. Taylor emphasized the routine nature of this job, with no requirement for special hoses or spray tips.

Gibdock’s proactive stance on sustainability aligns with the industry’s evolving landscape, meeting IMO’s decarbonization targets and EU’s Green Deal directives. The shipyard has consistently delivered on sustainability commitments, including exhaust gas scrubber and ballast water management system retrofits, LNG-fueled engine servicing, and the installation of energy-saving devices.

The success of this innovative project was attributed to the collaborative efforts of all stakeholders, with owner Vulica’s proactive energy-saving and sustainability initiatives leading to a swift green light for the endeavor. Gibdock, under the ownership of UK-based sustainable engineering company Balaena, has redoubled its focus on sustainability, exemplified by the addition of environmentally-responsible ultra-high-pressure water systems and a reverse osmosis plant for industrial-grade water supply. The project underscored the growing reputation of GIT’s hard foul release coatings as a simple yet impactful means of improving vessel efficiency and environmental protection.

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