Any object placed into water will immediately be exposed to fouling, developing in stages from slime, over algae’s to barnacles. As the fouling develops the substances gets harder and the extent of the fouling increases. The fouling develops in different phases depending on the water salinity, the temperature and the light.
This is the basic condition of shipping and the main negative consequence is increased hydro resistance leading to increased fuel consumption. Among other negative effects are the impacts on the environment.
It’s a phenomenon that has been addressed for centuries, but never eliminated. The generally applied resolution is the usage of toxic paint systems, however the most effective have been banned due to the negative environmental impact. Even applying the best paint systems tolerated by authorities, fouling will develop.
According to independent sources (several available on the intranet) about 5-10% average additional fuel consumption can be saved by removing the fouling through cleaning of the wet surfaces. For a large container vessel this easily corresponds to an annual saving of USD 500.000.