HMG Paints' unique antifouling treatment, Slippy Bottom, is now proving successful around the world and recently demonstrated its outstanding performance and environmental credentials on the world's first marine wildlife rescue ship, owned by charity EarthKind.
Ironically a former whaling vessel, 'Ocean Defender' was coated annually with Slippy Bottom and, despite sailing in marine-infested British coastal waters, remaining static for long periods and latterly being moored in Poole Town Quay, its hull always remained remarkably clean. Not only that, the owners of the tug that towed Ocean Defender to France, for its last general maintenance and antifouling, were so impressed that they too immediately converted to Slippy Bottom.
Because whilst their vessel was liberally coated with barnacles and other marine life, EarthKind's ship was virtually free from fouling. Produced by HMG in Manchester and proven successfully in all the major oceans of the world, Slippy Bottom is an innovative eco-friendly antifoul paint that mimics the extremely slippery surface texture of fish, shedding marine and weed growth as the boat moves through water. Whereas conventional self-polishing and hard antifouls work by releasing potentially toxic biocides into the sea, Slippy Bottom employs innovative surface coating technology to create a catalytic reaction with water, developing a smooth microfilm over the treated area.
What's more, it can be applied to all hull constructions and every type of craft, from power boats and yachts, to tugs and whaling ships. EarthKind, which works hard to protect animals, particularly marine wildlife, and their natural environment, felt that Slippy Bottom was perfect for treating Ocean Defender, since it is ecologically sound and effective at keeping hulls clean. So, HMG has donated sufficient product for its routine annual maintenance, for the last few years.
"Ocean Defender used to tour the UK coastline and was always on 24-hour alert, ready to respond to marine wildlife emergencies, like oils spills. Normally after a year, we would expct to see a lot of weed and barnacles, but when we lifted her out of the water for general maintenance and a fresh coat of antifouling, her bottom was very clean," reports Charley Smith, Ocean Defender's Chief Engineer, on its first full season of Slippy Bottom protection. "Compared to previous years, before we started using HMG's product, the difference was quite amazing and it has remained the same ever since, even when sitting in Weymouth for an extended period with the sun on her port side."
"This antifouling performance made the ship more economical to run," comments EarthKind's Jane Galloway, "which means in turn we use less of the earth's resources, whilst undertaking the vital marine conservation, rescue and education work that we do."
Latterly, the 86 year-old Ocean Defender was semi-retired and berthed permanently at Poole harbour, where she served as a floating educational resource, close to EarthKind's new headquarters in the town. Despite limited movement in the water, Slippy Bottom's selfcleaning action has continued to be highly effective and when the ship was last dry docked in France, the hull was found to be largely free of marine growth, in stark contrast to the tug that towed her there.
Believing the evidence of their own eyes, the tug's owners immediately ordered their own Slippy Bottom. Sadly, Ocean Defender is now due to be decommissioned and EarthKind has already launched an appeal for a replacement ship, to carry on its vital work. You can be sure that whatever its size and kind, the hull will be antifouled with Slippy Bottom.
Further enquiries to:
Telephone 0161 205 7631
To assist EarthKind in raising funds for a replacement ship, visit the charity's website at www.earthkind.org.uk