HONG Kong-headquartered Pacific Basin, owner and operator of one of the world’s largest dry bulk fleets, has decided to apply a Canadian-developed sustainable coating to the propellers of its fleet following a successful trial.

PacBasin, which at any one time has up to 20 vessels active in ANZ waters on business managed from its Melbourne office, will apply the graphene-based propeller coating, XGIT-PROP, across its entire fleet. The company says the innovative coating, developed by Canadian company GIT Coatings, has demonstrated the potential to enhance vessel performance by up to 4%, which also makes it a highly effective solution to improve CII and RightShip GHG ratings.

Following successful application and observing positive results on one of its Supramax bulkers, PacBasin has started the rollout of XGIT-PROP across 40 vessels scheduled for dry dock maintenance in 2024. “This decarbonisation initiative marks the largest adoption of graphene-based propeller coating in the dry bulk segment, showcasing Pacific Basin’s leadership and strong commitment to sustainability through innovative solutions,” the company said. “It parallels the pioneering efforts of industry counterparts like Stolt Tankers and Eastern Pacific Shipping, amongst many others.”

Sanjay Relan, the general manager of optimisation & decarbonisation at PacBasin, said “Since 2007, we have been coating our vessels’ propellers with silicone paint to proactively maintain a smooth propeller surface and avoid the frequent need for polishing to recover lost performance.

“However, we have not been able to avoid edge damages to the silicone coating on the propellers, which requires the entire propeller coating to be stripped and reapplied at every docking. By adopting XGIT-PROP hard coating for our entire fleet, we are taking a proactive step towards more sustainable practices. We hope to maintain a damage-free, smooth propeller surface and improve efficiency over longer periods. At a fleet-wide level, we anticipate significant reductions in both environmental impact and operational expenses.”

A biocide-free hard foul release coating, XGIT-PROP is designed to withstand the rigorous conditions faced by propellers, overcoming the shortcomings of conventional, biocide-based soft foul release coatings that release silicone oils and often peel away from propeller blades.

In a fuel efficiency study conducted by Stolt Tankers in 2022, it was proven that XGIT-PROP has the potential to reduce fuel consumption by up to 4%. In addition to improved CII ratings, shipowners in the dry bulk sector are leveraging XGIT-PROP’s efficiency gains to improve their vessels’ RightShip GHG ratings, PacBasin says.

PacBasin operates approximately 266 dry bulk ships of which 116 are owned and the rest chartered. It is listed and headquartered in Hong Kong and serves over 500 customers, with over 5100 seafarers and 389 shore-based staff in 14 offices worldwide.