WASHINGTON (NNS) -- Navy engineers announced Oct. 1 that a new underwater hull coating applied to USS Port Royal (CG 73) is being tested to validate the projected saving of more than $180,000 in fuel costs per year. Testing will assess fuel cost savings for the ship while underway.
The special coating is part of Naval Sea Systems Command's (NAVSEA) Fleet Readiness Research & Development Program (FRR&DP) Underwater Hull Coatings initiative to apply new anti-fouling hull coatings on Ticonderoga-class cruisers and Arleigh Burke-class destroyers. Marine fouling causes hydrodynamic drag, significantly impairing fuel efficiency, and coatings to prevent or inhibit this growth are constantly evolving.
"Marine fouling is a chronic and costly problem for Navy ships," said Petter Kristiansen, FRR&DP program manager. "In addition to the increased fuel consumption, cleaning and recoating ship hulls is expensive and time-consuming, and recoating can only be done while a ship is in dry dock. The hull coatings will help reduce marine bio-fouling, build-ups of tubeworms, mussels, barnacles and other shell organisms on the ship's hull."
Port Royal is the U.S. Navy's first guided-missile cruiser, and second ship overall, to receive the new hull coatings, that was applied during a maintenance availability period at Pearl Harbor Naval Shipyard in September. USS Cole (DDG 67) was the first ship to receive.
"The new process uses a fouling-release coating system. It is a silicone-based, non-toxic technology that provides a very smooth, slick, low friction surface," Kristiansen explained. "Settling marine organisms like barnacles, tunicates and algae can't attach themselves firmly to the slick surface. Those that do attach, do so weakly and are usually washed away when ships are underway, or are removed during regularly scheduled pierside hull inspections and cleanings."
Once fully implemented on the 70-plus active ships across the two classes, the program could potentially deliver fuel consumption cost avoidances of more than $12.6 million per year, based on fuel oil prices of $100 per barrel.
The Port Royal left dry dock Sept. 24 and is scheduled to rejoin the fleet later this year. Kristiansen said FRR&DP will closely monitor the coating's performance over the next 12 to 18 months.
NAVSEA is committed to fiscal responsibility and streamlining our maintenance and modernization processes to maintain current readiness at a lower cost.
For more news from Naval Sea Systems Command, visit www.navy.mil/local/navsea/.