Almouj Marina in Oman successfully tests anti-fouling marine nano-coating technology

Oman Tuesday 16/February/2016 23:00 PM
By: Times News Service
Almouj Marina in Oman successfully tests anti-fouling marine nano-coating technology

Muscat: Almouj Marina announced the success of a month-long experiment to create environment-friendly and technologically enhanced anti-fouling coating for vessels and other submerged structures.
The unique field experiment, which was conducted in Almouj Marina and in partnership with researchers from Sultan Qaboos University (SQU), helped successfully develop a non-toxic coating that has proven to be as effective as commercial anti-fouling paints without endangering the environment.
The project, the first of its kind in the region, could help preserve Oman’s unique marine environment and save the maritime industry millions of dollars annually.
Bio-fouling is the colonisation of submerged surfaces by unwanted organisms, such as bacteria, barnacles, and algae. The fouling of boats, structures, and industrial equipment has had a major impact on the maritime industry.
For decades, toxic compounds have been used to keep the hull of ships free of organisms. This has led to the contamination of the marine environment and harmed many marine organisms.
Milestone moment
Khalil Abu Jaber, Marina Manager at Almouj Marina commented, “This milestone moment is a major step forward in our quest to prevent the degradation and pollution of marine species in the Sultanate.
“Its success has the potential to ramp up efforts to protect our oceanic treasures and position Oman as a safe haven for oceanic life. As a result of the strong outcomes yielded by the experiment, we along with our partners will extend the length of the eco-project further as we move to enter a new phase of intense research
Dr. Sergey Dobretsov, head of Department of Marine Science and Fisheries at SQU said, “Bio-fouling is a major problem for the marine industry, incurring costs of more than $15 billion per annum worldwide. Oman in particular has a great deal of bio-fouling thanks to its abundant coastal areas.
“Today, most manufacturers produce toxic anti-fouling paints that gradually release poisonous chemicals and harm any organisms that come in contact with it, in addition to contaminating the marine environment. As such, the development of an environmentally friendly coating will bring massive benefits to Oman, ranging from sustaining wildlife and ecosystems to significantly
reducing costs.”
The nano-coating developed during the experiment in Almouj Marina, is technologically enhanced and can cover more surface with less material. Produced with the aid of nano-technology, the coating successfully reduces the impact of bio-fouling on waterways, marine life, maintenance costs and fuel consumption.
He added, “Almouj Marina is the ideal location for conducting this experiment, thanks to its clean and clear waters as well as their dedication to marine conservation.
The result is a coating that is free of toxic chemicals and capable of transforming marine preservation in Oman. Moving forward, we hope our next phase of research will be the beginning of a new era for the marine industry in
the Sultanate.”
Kick-started as part of an agreement made between Almouj Marina and SQU in February 2015 with the help of The Research Council of Oman, the first experiments were undertaken for fishing nets.