A newly developed certificate has now been issued to Rigel Schiffahrts GmbH, Bremen, by Germanischer Lloyd. Four new chemical tankers of the shipping company will be the world's first ships to receive certification of the coating systems used in their cargo tanks, over and above the normal scope of classification.
The vessels, each with a tonnage of 21,800 dwt, are being built in Poland at the Stocznia Gdynia shipyard to Germanischer Lloyd class. For the first two units completed, which were given their tank coatings in Bremerhaven, the corresponding certificates were handed over to the owner. Coating systems in shipbuilding are normally not assessed by the classification societies, since such coatings do not directly constitute an aspect of shipping safety. However, certification by a neutral partner is advantageous for several reasons, especially in the case of chemical tankers. An appreciable part of the overall investment is generally consumed by the coating system, and repairs are very costly. The coatings have to protect the tanks from corrosion by the cargo, and must also prevent contamination of the cargo.
Cost-saving effects can be achieved in that the supervision activities otherwise conducted in parallel by the shipyard, the shipping company, the contractor, the coating manufacturer and the insurance company can be reduced to a minimum. Certification is also of interest in view of the growing requirements set by the insurers as a result of coating damages.