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7 Steel Preparation and Paint

There are many tasks that involve your crew

But what lies beneath?

onboard the ship, but preparing surfaces for painting and the painting itself are probably the largest. The problem with painting seems to be in the preparation, with the occasional Captain, Superintendent and company wanting the ship to be painted 'now', regardless of the time taken to prepare the steelwork. This is why, too often, rust is painted over and, even in dry docks, ships' hulls, tanks and holds are painted before they are dry or in poor weather conditions, often against the recommendations of the paint manufacturers, with a resultant quick deterioration in the paintwork and the steel it is supposed to protect.

7.1 Costs
Paint and coating costs vary widely. The cost of repairing non-performing coating systems in service can be high, and quite disproportionate to new build costs. The following are estimates from Safina Ltd: The cost of coatings and their application may typically represent: • • • • 0-5% of total ship cost at construction for commercial ships 0-15% of total ship cost at construction for chemical tankers 5-15% of annual maintenance costs for commercial ships up to 50% of dry docking costs for large ships.


dirt. The surface being painted must be clear of all rust. the paint cannot properly adhere to the iirface and fill all the pores of the steel. without a doubt. The surface obtained during blasting depends on the grade and type of abrasive used. It must be completely dry. if these are used. such as welding seams. the painting that follows will be more for cosmetic appearance than for the protection it is primarily intended for. Scrapers are useful for dealing with small areas where power tools cannot be used. 7.3 Hand Tools Wire brushes are good for cleaning out pitted surfaces. Without this. Before blasting the surface must be free from grease.4 Power Tools Increasingly. the traditional basic hand tool of the seas. which means that the paint will follow such contours with the thinner paint on the high area. power tools are replacing manual tools and. Thinners are commonly used to remove grease and oil but. Chipping hammers. 7. the surface preparation is a compromise between what should be done and what is possible with the small number of crew on the majority of ships. reuse of the abrasive is required. but care must be taken that very strong cleaning agents are not used on existing paintwork as they tend to burn or soften the existing coating. their utilisation improves steel preparation provided they are used properly. grease and salt. This can only be done with good quality abrasive and the second use will never provide the quality of blasting obtained on the first run. It is better to grind down any rough edges. On many ships.1. welding areas and light rust and paintwork. prior to blasting. 45 . the air pressure and the skill of the operators. for economy. oil. still have their uses hut these must be used with care as too heavy a hand can dent the steelwork. Once dented the metal forms a high and low area. if the surface preparation is not carried out correctly. Unfortunately.2 Surface Preparation Too often. There are a number of solutions on the market for the cleaning of surfaces. 7. the surface must be washed clean afterwards.5 Blast Cleaning This is the most effective method for preparing steelwork for painting. This will wear off more quickly than in the thicker area and will leave spots of rust that will spread under the thicker areas.

46 . they also reduce the ability of the paint to penetrate the surface being covered and they reduce the 'gloss' effect. If paint is thinned too much its protective nature will be reduced. Under the terms of the Convention. Anti-corrosive Anti-corrosive paint contains heavy pigmentation and requires frequent stirring as the pigmentation tends to settle in the bottom of the drums. These are anti-fouling and anti.6 Paint The primary purpose of paint is to seal the pores on wood and steel.7. However.corrosive paints with the anti-corrosive being applied first. by 1 January 2008. Copper oxide is the chemical that has been the most effective in dealing with marine growth. Without this pigmentation. Each area requires differing preparations and paints designed with the properties best suited for the area it is to be applied to. It is essential that this coating is properly applied and covers all the bottom as the next coating of anti-fouling paint can cause pitting if it comes into direct contact with the steel. 7. and the topsides are frequently subjected to differing temperatures. as this reduces the speed of the ship and increases the fuel consumption. Bottom paints These paints rarely affect you as Chief Officer as they are normally applied in dry dock by shore personnel. Anti-fouling This paint is used to prevent the fouling of the ship's bottom. or shall bear a coating that forms a barrier to such compounds leaching from the underlying non-compliant anti-fouling systems'. it is important that they are applied correctly and you should watch for this in the dry dock. the effectiveness of the paint is reduced. it provides a washable surface and a pleasant appearance to the overall finish. the present day effectiveness of anti-fouling on ships will decrease. They are used to reduce the consistency of the paint to assist its application. It also dries very quickly in comparison to other paints. ships were not 'to bear such st compounds on their hulls or external parts or surfaces. and this is applied over the anti-corrosive paint.7 Types of Paint The metal of a ship is subject to differing environments. The bottom part is rarely dry. with the introduction of the new IMO Convention on the 'Control of Harmful Anti-Fouling Systems on Ships'. which was adopted in 2001. wind and weather. the middle sections of the hull are constantly changing from wet to dry in seawater. However. decreasing the decay and the formation of rust. with a subsequent rise in fuel costs or reduction in speed. By smoothing out the surfaces. However.

The correct type of paint must be used and it is important to carefully follow the specification for the actual area to be painted. 12. Measurement of temperatures must be carried out in the vicinity of where application takes place. Avoid unnecessary thinning. what may appear to be dry may not be. 7. mask and gloves. Always wash your hands with a hand cleaner or soap and water. When painting. Separate the area to be painted into reasonable sections and distribute the paint tins accordingly. 13. Before painting commences prepare a plan of how the tins of paint are to be distributed over the surface. 2. Read the instructions on the Technical and Safety Data Sheets. Outside these ranges the drying times will be affected. On aluminium and galvanised steel. Do not use thinners or solvents to clean your hands. at least two coats of primer are used before applying the topcoats. Avoid inhaling solvent vapours. 47 .Primers Primers are rust inhibitors that are applied as base coats onto prepared bare steel. 8. Potlife decreases as temperature increases and vice versa. Normally. 3. Adhere carefully to instructions regarding the potlife (that's how long before it becomes unusable). 5. only zinc chromate primers should be used. Follow the instructions regarding the recommended spreading rate for the paint. This method helps to achieve a more even distribution of paint over the entire surface and ensures the quantity of paint corresponds to the specification. The ideal temperature range for applying paint is between 15-25°C with humidity at 85% maximum. the temperature of the substrate should be a minimum of 3°C above the dew-point to avoid condensation. 6. In cold weather it is advisable to keep the paint at room temperature. It is always advisable to wear goggles. They seal the pores of the steel and provide a smooth surface for the top coats. 7. Check the drying times. 11.8 Painting The following guidelines for paint application are reproduced with the kind permission of Jotron Paints (Europe) Ltd: 1 All equipment should be clean and checked to ensure it is in perfect working order and is the right equipment for the job. This is essential as the heaviest pigment in the paint sinks to the bottom of the tin. observe the safety precautions and do not smoke whilst painting. 4. Paint must be thoroughly mixed otherwise the quality may not be as expected. Ensure there is good ventilation if working in an enclosed area. 9. 10.

To obtain the recommended dry or wet film thickness by brush or roller. There is really only one thing to do with these. such as the windows. Paint is not meant to go onto rubber seals as it hardens and prevents the rubber from sealing properly and also degrades the rubber. Sacrificial anodes must be replaced. Prepare the area properly.14. Tape may also be used. then replace them with plastic ones. Have the crew go round and scrape the paint off all the places that they should not have painted. If they realise that they will have to do this every time they are careless. Additional cleaning may be required. you will be surprised at how their painting improves. which are: 48 . If you are spray painting. ensure that the crew take the basic precautions. It is essential that new anodes are not painted and it is advisable to protect them with aluminium foil. The drying time between each coat must be in accordance with the current Technical Data Sheet for the product. the number of coats needed may at least need to be doubled. 16. If you have these old metal ones onboard. This is normally only achieved by airless spray application. which are usually made of cheap metal that rusts and then streaks down onto the paintwork. Remember to remove the foil or tape after painting. 15. Grease spindles to keep the paint off. On Technical Data Sheets a typical dry and wet film thickness is shown. Don't paint late in the day. The wet film thickness must be measured at frequent intervals. 17. 18. A problem area is cable trays. which is to carefully take the cabling off and strip and prime the runs properly before replacing. Paint should never be applied to a wet surface or during rain. remember evenings and night time are when moisture forms. The recommended thickness must be maintained throughout the painting. Ensure that sealing tape or grease is put on windows and portholes. Avoid painting when it is windy and avoid direct sunlight.

9 Safety Precautions for the Paint Locker Most paint presents a safety hazard. pick your time and place for painting. a dust cartridge respirator can filter out particles of paint effectively.• • • If painting in well ventilated spaces or outside. Finally. These do not filter the paint properly and the rags can become impregnated with paint particles and allow the paint into the mouth. Then we ran into a sand storm. providing the cartridge is replaced at regular intervals if ventilation is poor then it is essential that a proper air fed hood and masking system is used under no circumstances are rags or cloths tied over the mouth and nose to be used. I had the whole and bridge front painted in gleaming gloss white off the Namibian coast heading north. 49 . These rags should not be left in the locker overnight. • The immediate problem to health are the vapours emitted by the various paints and coatings and clothing that is paint splattered. this danger can be removed. Precautions that should be taken are as follows: • • All paint. Unfortunately. By sealing the containers and changing clothing. Leaving it in the locker could cause spontaneous combustion used rags should be kept in a metal container and disposed of once work has finished each day. removed and dried out. both to the ship and to the health of those working with it. thinners and varnishes are to be kept in sealed containers if canvas or other material is used to protect the deck. The result was a pink front that felt like sandpaper. pink was not the Captain's colour. 7. this must be taken up at the end of the day.