Shipyard Finds Safe Product Without Sacrificing Performance

The Bollinger Machine Shop & Shipyard in Lockport, La., is directing special attention to the ballast tanks on its ships. Since this shipyard constructs numerous vessels of every size, shape and purpose, a lot of ballast tanks are involved.

Ballast tanks receive intermittent exposure to salt water and require protection from corrosive damage. Fumes that sometimes build up in poorly ventilated ballast tanks can create a hazardous situation for both workers and the ship itself.

Bollinger initiated a search for a marine/ industrial coating system that would give suitable protection and would be essentially non-hazardous when used in confined areas.

Studies led Bollinger's engineers to Bywater Coatings, Division of Bywater Sales & Service Company, Inc. (BYCO) of Belle Chasse, La.

BYCO is the producer of a water-based protective coating system designed for use in dry voids, interiors of grain barges, cargo holds, hatch covers, linings for potable water tanks, and ballast tanks. This two-component, high solids, water-dispersed system is called Versa-Kote 3-WB and is made up of a specifically designed polymer and a pigmented activator.

Versa-Kote 3-WB, which can be applied by conventional or airless spray, adheres tenaciously even to marginally prepared steel surfaces and a variety of other substances.

Thorough testing proved this modified cementitious coating to be impervious to heavy abuse, thus meeting Bollinger's stipulations on durability.

Attention was directed next to safety features of this material. Versa-Kote 3-WB's water-based nature eliminates the amount of flammables escaping into the atmosphere and requires no special precautions when sprayed in a confined area. Upon application of this protective coating in the ballast tank, much of the water hydrates to harden the cement.

Remaining aqueous vapors are harmless to the workers and do not impede curing due to high vapor concentration in the enclosed space. Repeated tests convinced Bollinger that Versa-Kote 3-WB was a safer product to use as well as a very acceptable tank coating that required minimum surface preparation.

Based on these conclusions, Bollinger began to recoat ballast tanks on several of its existing ships with Versa-Kote 3-WB, a material that incorporates as its only binder an acrylic emulsion manufactured by Rohm and Haas Company of Philadelphia. Pleased with the material's performance as a recoat system, Bollinger speculated on using Versa-Kote 3-WB as the sole ballast tank coating system on future projects.

Bollinger recently launched a new offshore vessel equipped with 17 ballast tanks, all of which have been treated with the BYCO product. Christened Ventura, this oil-well supply vessel was commissioned by Conoco American Shipping Company and measures 170 by 38 by 133 feet. The Ventura, operating out of the Port of Galveston and into the Gulf of Mexico, is used as a support vessel in supertanker lightening operations.

Having witnessed the benefits of the waterdispersed BYCO system, Bollinger has approved using Versa-Kote 3-WB for all protective coating work done in the ballast tanks on two new vessels now under construction in the shipyard.

Maritime Reporter Magazine, page 12,  Aug 15, 1980 Gary W. Dayton

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