Cost efficiency of ultrasonic anti-fouling systems (UAFS)

Getting access to the sea-chest is complicated and costly

If need be, ultrasonic anti-fouling systems can be installed while the ship is moving in the high seas. It can be installed by the ship’s crew. No special tools or dry docking needed. No moving parts either, so hardly any wear and tear. Hence maintenance free. This makes the ultrasonic solution extremely cost efficient.

FWN-Solide in harbour, discharging her cargo.

FWN-Solide in harbour, discharging her cargo.




For example: we installed an HDS80 on the FWN-Solide while the ship was discharging her cargo in the port of Schiedam, Rotterdam.

UAF and ICAF systems compared

Ultrasonic anti-fouling (UAF) is a cost-efficient alternative for Impressed Current Anti Fouling (ICAF) systems.

Here is a brief cost comparison:


To protect an average size box-cooler and the sea chest in which it is mounted, 4 transducers are needed. 2 on top of the box cooler itself, 2 on the sea chest walls. The cost of such a system would be around 4000 Euros. Installation is so simple, it is normally done by the ship’s crew, in half a day or so. Installation material amounts to no more than a tube of glue, included in the 4000 Euros. Actually, we sell a good part of our systems through Singapore, we simply ship the system there, and the ship’s crew installs it. In Europe we send the system simply to the next port of call where the ship is loading/changing crew. Normally, before the ship leaves port, the system is up and running.

Now a comparable ICAF system would cost around the same, 4000 Euros.
However, installation cannot be done by the crew, and moreover, the ship needs to go into dry dock.
Minimum installation costs would be:

  • 1 work day for an ICAF/ICCP engineer; 850 Euros
  • 8 workdays for general wharf staff; 8×500= 4000 Euros

Installation material is hard to calculate, differs very much from case to case, but let’s put it at an absolute minimum of 150 Euros.

Docking costs vary seasonally and also from country to country. We shall therefore not put any number to it, but any shipowner knows how costly docking is, both direct costs and opportunity costs.

So, calculating an I Impressed Current Anti Fouling installation without a single hiccup, and ignoring docking costs, the ultrasonic anti-fouling system would cost 4000 Euros, the Impressed Current Anti Fouling for the same application would cost 10.000 Euros.



Sea-chest entry

Sea-chest entry while drydocking

Here the only way to gain access to the sea-chest is through cutting the grating

Here the only way to gain access to the sea-chest is through cutting the grating


Drydocking and cutting open the sea chest grating to work on the ICAF system





There is more, however. An ultrasonic anti-fouling system is maintenance free! In contrast, the anodes of an Impressed Current Anti Fouling need to be replaced every 2 to 3 years. Again an expensive operation, not only the price of the anodes themselves but again labor and docking costs.
An ultrasonic anti-fouling system has no moving parts and is installed completely ‘dry’, on the inside of the ship. No cables through the ship’s hull. Hence much lower vulnerability. No risk of leakage currents with active corrosion as a result. A major offshore company in Norway, now a client of ours, had a number of emergency dockings last year; something was wrong with the Impressed Current Anti Fouling wiring, the sea chest of the vessel started functioning as a cathode, resulting in large parts of the sea chest wall needed to be cut out and replaced. Imagine the costs for repair!

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