NauticExpo e-Magazine - #18 - Smart Ports - NauticExpo e-Magazine

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Smart Ports

Dear readers,


In this new issue, you will travel to Saudi Arabia and the Netherlands to discover two of the smartest and most automated ports in the world—the King Abdullah Port and the Port of Rotterdam.


You’ll also read about the new generations of antifouling coatings as leading companies are updating their product lines to meet European environmental regulations. On another note, we tested the impressive and luxurious Lagoon Seventy Seven. Finally, we toured the biggest boat show on the planet, boot Düsseldorf, to give you our impressions of the 2018 market trends.


Celia Sampol, Editor-in-Chief

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King Abdullah Port was built to maximize the efficiency of the maritime sector in Saudi Arabia and beyond.
King Abdullah Port in Saudi Arabia (KSA) is becoming the leading automated port in the region (Courtesy of KSA)

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Strategically situated on the busy Asia-Europe shipping route and in close proximity to the Suez Canal, King Abdullah Port in Saudi Arabia (KSA) is quickly becoming the leading automated port in the region.   With a robust infrastructure based on the latest port technology systems and expertly trained staff, the port...

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The new regulations require that all key biocides used in antifouling yacht paints in the EU be assessed.
Barnacle boat (Courtesy of Creative Commons)


The marine curse of fouled hulls has generated a thriving industry of toxic paints which release self-polishing copolymers. But the European Biocidal Products Regulation (BPR) calls into question even the less harmful copper-based antifouling paints. Leading companies are updating their lines to meet the upcoming deadlines.


The new regulations require that all key biocides used in antifouling yacht paints in the EU be assessed. Applying and maintaining these paints is costly for recreational vessels, and can be huge for large ships. The combination of environmental concerns, rising costs, and technological changes has spurred the search for better solutions.

“Addressing hull fouling is a crucial step in protecting marine biodiversity.”

Poisoning the ocean is not the only problem posed by organisms adhering to hulls. International Maritime Organization (IMO) director Stefan Micallef explained: “The IMO has been at the forefront of the international effort to tackle the transfer of invasive aquatic species by ships. Addressing hull fouling is a crucial step in protecting marine biodiversity. The treatment of hulls to reduce fouling by aquatic organisms has the additional benefit of reducing greenhouse gas emissions, since [it also reduces] drag.”

In 2017, the IMO announced it was allocating $6.9 million to its new GloFouling Project, covering both commercial and recreational vessels. All available approaches will be examined, including improved ultrasonic waves, nanotechnology and robotic solutions.

A Range of Technologies

Antifouling paint prevents rust on metal hulls and reduces marine growth on all hulls. In addition to high cost, it has only limited ability to combat barnacle growth inside hull fittings. This is spurring efforts to modify or completely change the system.

New approaches include metal-free, low-friction alternatives, enzyme-based green products and silicone liquids, among others. Selektope from pharmaceutical giant AstraZeneca is one example. The collaborative EU eSHaRk project that includes non-eroding silicone filament from Mactac is another. A third possible solution is a low-friction nanotechnology being developed by Nanotech Marine.

eSHaRk wants to create an innovative new fouling protection system for commercial seagoing vessels (Courtesy of eSHaRk)

Applying these paints and filaments remains onerous, creating a need for robotic applicators and cleaners. Robotic hull cleaners, such as the Italian-designed Keelcrab, is a solution aimed at recreational boaters. Commercial shipping already uses robots for hull inspection, one reason the US Coast Guard commissioned an extensive report on the subject in 2016. Robots used magnetism to stick to hulls or negative pressure fields, though shipowners questioned both approaches. The report concluded that “In terms of the effectiveness of the technologies, we continue to see a lack of conclusive testing.”

The Ultrasonic Alternative

In the 1950s, the US Navy found growth-free areas on hulls near sonar signal sources and used the phenomenon to complement antifouling paint. Critics of the technology note that power output was substantial—perhaps 2 kW—whereas consumer versions operated at 20-100 kHz. Ironically, ultrasound is also used to promote plant growth, making it a somewhat controversial solution. However, manufacturers such as CMS Marine and Harsonic point out that the amount of power required to destroy algae at single cell level is significantly lower than that required to destroy molluscs. Another company, NRG Marine, told visitors to METSTRADE 2017 that its Sonihull ultrasonic product has 15,000 users.

A variation comes from Australia’s Barnaclerid, which creates a copper ion electronic field around the boat’s hull. Unlike ultrasonic systems, no hull installation is required. Instead, it consists of a wiring harness holding several electrodes that hangs from the boat when moored. “Also, Barnaclerid does not cause electrolysis or galvanic corrosion, as shown in independent tests. This report is available on request,” CEO Shane Gillard told NauticExpo e-magazine.

Read more about antifouling coatings on NauticExpo website.


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  • The boot show (Court. of Messe Düsseldorf/ctillmann)

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    Fast & foiling, sustainable & recyclable—and a wider array of sizes and designs. Here are our impressions after touring the biggest boat show on the planet.


    This January, almost 2,000 exhibitors from 68 countries occupied 220,000 square meters of exhibition area in Düsseldorf, Germany. These numbers are huge in the boat industry. Apart from making Boot the world’s biggest boat show, they also make Düsseldorf the place to go if you want to know what is happening in the boat market, and what directions trends and tendencies are moving in. Here is a quick version of the 2018 market tendencies.

    Fast, Wet and Wild

    Unsurprisingly, one very visible trend is foiling. The number of small, fast dinghies and sporty multihulls are on the rise in general, and this also goes for lightweight planing vessels without foils. People seem to like fun, fast sailing in smaller boats.

    In this corner of the market, current designs, materials and technology can really make a difference. The result is a wide array of new boats with stunning performance. Some examples are Easy to FlyRS-21, Astus 20,5 and Aeronamics Flo1. Some are high-budget, advanced boats, some are simple, very affordable boats. And a lot are somewhere in the middle.

    The RS21 (Courtesy of RS Sailing)

    Slow, Green and Clean

    Another trend is green technology, fuel savings and sustainable production. This very much involves motorboats and a growing tendency towards lightweight boats with low planing thresholds and, as a result, low fuel consumption.

    These boats are of course designed with an eye for electrical engines, but in most cases you can still choose a diesel or petrol engine. “Range fear” is still a topic, even though range with electrical propulsion increases every year. An advantage to these boats is that even engines running on fossil fuels can be smaller, cheaper and use much less fuel. Examples are Loxo 32 by Pogo and Rand Leisure 28.

    The Rand Leisure 28 sustainably produced and available with advanced electric engine systems (Courtesy of Rand)

    On the equipment side of things, a lot of development of electrical engines and batteries is currently ongoing. Market leaders in this area are Torqeedo and OceanVolt.

    Production methods and materials seem to be slowly developing in a more sustainable direction too. Still, this is for the moment a small drop in the ocean of large-scale commercial production, but if some manufacturers manage to build sound, lasting business models on this basis, others will follow. It is actually possible today to produce boats with at least partially recyclable or organic materials. This is already being done by Bente Yachts and Rand Boats, and could prove to be a fast-growing trend.

    Big, Cool and Fast

    Looking around the huge exhibition space, there is also a very visible trend in the somewhat opposite direction: Extremely fast and lavishly designed powerboats—high-end products with very cool and innovative lines. A clear example is the Axopar Brabus Shadow 800.

    Overall, looking at the size of boats at Boot Düsseldorf, the spectrum seems to be widening in both directions. There is a growing number of small boats, but there is also definitely a growing number of very large vessels—for example, Bavaria Yachts showed off their new 65-foot model.

    There is a growing number of very large vessels, such as the new Bavaria C65 (Courtesy of Bavaria Yachts)

    And finally, it’s worth mentioning the big cruising catamarans, with their ever-increasing space and comfort. Year by year they are edging themselves into the broader consumer market, after being a niche for charter and blue-water sailing for decades.

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    The innovative WaveRoller from Finnish firm AW-Energy generates electricity from waves’ surge.


    Surge is the forward and back motion waves make when they travel from deep to shallower waters. That movement flexes WaveRoller’s steel panel, which is fixed to the nearshore seabed at depths between 8-20 meters. The system captures those pressure pulses in hydraulic accumulators, which feed this pressurized hydraulic fluid smoothly to the electricity generation system—which in turn feeds the grid.

    A single WaveRoller’s electricity output ranges between 500 and 1,000 kW.

    A single WaveRoller’s electricity output ranges between 500 and 1,000 kW. The differences result from local wave resources. Being fixed to the seabed and with nearshore placement, WaveRoller is not as exposed to extreme waves as most rival devices. It’s also easier to maintain. It has ballast tanks that allow it to float to the surface, limiting the need for diving operations. Its short connection to a local grid, and its even power generation, also make it attractive to power utilities.

    British naval architect and AW-Energy’s chief technology officer Chris Ridgewell sees huge potential. “WaveRoller technology has been successfully tested in the Simple Underwater Renewable Generation of Energy (SURGE) project that was financed through the EU,” he told NauticExpo e-magazine. “SURGE’s goal was to create a grid-connected wave energy converter and to deploy it in Peniche, on Portugal’s Atlantic coast.”

    Commercial Phase

    “We continually check WaveRoller at our Järvenpää, Finland, test centre where the power take-off unit is subjected to accelerated lifecycle tests—including wave heights of 7-8 meters—to determine and develop endurance and reliability,” Ridgewell added. “That said, meeting certification criteria hasn’t been easy,” he noted.

    But the company has now moved to the commercial phase. That was pushed last September when Finnish technology giant Wärtsilä announced an engineering, procurement and construction agreement with AW-Energy for WaveRoller’s commercial roll-out.

    WaveRoller-Järvenpää test centre (Courtesy of AW-Energy)

    Wärtsilä initially consulted on the overall seal and bearing arrangement, recommending transition to a water-lubricated solution. This simplified the application and simultaneously addressed any environmental concerns.

    Seals and Bearings

    Through its UK-based seals and bearings division, Wärtsilä equipped WaveRoller with metallic bearing housings, composite bearings, lip seal housings, and hydraulic couplings. “The majority of the year, waves are quite small—1-2 meters,” Ridgewell explained. “That’s why the bearings are so important: they allow the panel to move in small wave heights. They are also essential to the device’s durability as they withstand rough weather and require minimal servicing.”

    WaveRoller PTO and panel (Courtesy of AW-Energy)

    Wärtsilä business development manager Les Creak commented: “AW-Energy has come up with a fantastic invention, which is proven to work at sea. But the information they were able to extract on bearings’ and seals’ longevity was from simulated exercises.

    “What we’re giving them is mature technology. Derivatives of our seal and bearing technology have been operating in other applications for over 50 years. Now, AW-Energy is able to use past performance figures. This gives a sense of security and reliability.”

    Creak and his team also invested time developing a composite structural lip seal housing for WaveRoller. It reduces weight and is easier to install and service. The first full-scale pilot project is now underway, with WaveRoller being installed at Peniche and linked to the grid. And when the pilot stage is finished, Ridgewell is confident WaveRoller will be a major step closer to the market.

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    Jan D’Sa

    Jan D’Sa is a Dubai-based reporter and technical writer.

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    Øyvind Bordal

    Øyvind Bordal is a norwegian writer and sailor, based in Denmark and Caribbean.


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    Kevin Green

    Kevin Green is a Sydney-based yachting journalist who contributes to international boating publications.


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    Wim Vercauter

    Wim Vercauter is a freelance boating editor and a fire safety expert.

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    Celia Sampol

    Celia Sampol has been a journalist for more than 15 years. She worked in Brussels and Washington for national medias (Agence France Presse, Liberation, Europolitics). She’s the editor-in-chief of NauticExpo e-magazine and MedicalExpo e-magazine.

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    Tony Slinn

    Formerly editor-in-chief of IHS Maritime, Tony Slinn is an independent maritime journalist.

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