Marine coatings manufacturer, Hempel, announced that its fouling release product Hempaguard has now been applied as a full vessel coating to 500 ships. This milestone was reached yesterday with the coating of a 61,614dwt, 2011-built, container vessel. Environmental obligations are at the top of the agenda for all responsible shipping companies and Hempaguard was introduced to the shipping industry against a backdrop of rising bunkering costs, tightening environmental regulations and the introduction of mandatory Ship Energy Efficiency Management Plans (SEEMP). Originally launched in 2013 as a new innovative low cost fouling defence product, Hempaguard claims to have shown an outstanding resistance to fouling during idle periods (of up to 120 days), providing shipowners with full trading flexibility. Unlike regular hull coatings that, in general, are specified according to a vessel’s speed and activity level, Hempaguard retains its effectiveness when switching between slow and regular steaming and so is suitable for all vessel types. This has been a major contributor to its success – alongside proven fuel efficiency levels of around 6%. Commenting on reaching the 500 ship milestone, Claes Skat-Roerdam, Marketing Manager, Fouling Control, Hempel A/S said: “Hempaguard’s success is a true testament of how well our coating has been received by shipowners. The combination of silicone-hydrogel and biocide science has revolutionised antifouling technology to deliver excellent fouling resistance. We are delighted to reach this incredible milestone after such a short space of time which proves the value of our coating. Our aim is to continue to connect with our customers to develop trusted solutions that match their evolving ship operating patterns”. Hempel A/S Group Vice President, Marine Marketing, Christian Ottosen added: “Feedback from our customers has been resoundingly positive, confirming their vessels have remained significantly cleaner and for longer than they’ve experienced with any other antifouling product. The US and Europe have been the first regions to benefit from the advantages of the broad and flexible range of service parameters this coating offers, with popularity now increasing in Asia. Further evidence of Hempaguard’s value as a trusted solution is a recent agreement to coat 14 vessels for one of the world’s largest container operators.” Hempaguard is the first product to use Hempel’s patented Actiguard technology that integrates silicone-hydrogel and full diffusion control of biocides in a single coating. So confident is Hempel of its performance that the company offers the industry’s first performance satisfaction guarantee. In recognition of its value to the market Hempaguard has won two awards, most recently, in late 2015, the IBJ (International Bulk Journal) Innovative Technology Award for the development of the ground-breaking Actiguard technology, and Shipping Efficiency’s prestigious Environmental Technology award in October 2014, for making “a significant contribution to environmental impact reduction or prevention to ships”.