Why Clean Ocean Coatings? An interview with our CEO, Christina Linke.

Why Clean Ocean Coatings? An interview with our CEO, Christina Linke.

Who is Clean Ocean Coatings?

We are a fun, committed team who wants to revolutionizes the commercial shipping industry with a new hull coating type. With our environmentally friendly surface coating, we irradicate microplastics while enabling huge savings potential for owners and shipping companies by reducing drag due to antifouling.

How did you become aware of the topic?

Our other co-founder, Patricia Griem, began developing the coating eight years ago in three research projects between that Christian Albrechts University in Kiel and Phi-Stone AG. So I was hooked when I heard at a conference in early 2020 that this idea would disappear into the drawer. I’m a trained food technology engineer but would have preferred to become a marine biologist, so it felt like destiny was calling.

Do you have a particular role model in the industry since the topic is somewhat invisible? 

Sylvia Earle a marine biologist, oceanographer, author, and explorer who has dedicated her life to studying and advocating for the conservation of the world's oceans.  

She has conducted over 100 ocean expeditions and logged more than 7,000 hours underwater. In 1970, she led the first all-female team of aquanauts during the Tektite Project, a government-funded program that studied the effects of prolonged underwater habitation on the human body.

At 87, Earle remains an active advocate for ocean conservation and is widely regarded as one of the most influential figures in marine biology and oceanography.

What are your hopes and dreams?

The whole team and I, Clean Ocean Coatings, want to drive lasting change in the shipping industry with our coating.  

Adjacent to that, I would love to influence legislation at the highest level while investing in ocean-focused initiatives and projects to say we’ve done everything possible to help the oceans and their inhabitants.  

What is the negative impact of biofouling?

Biofouling can cause many problems for ships and other marine structures. For example, it can increase drag on ship hulls, reducing their speed and increasing fuel consumption by up to 40%. Biofouling can also lead to corrosion and other damage to the surfaces it covers. In addition, biofouling can transport invasive species to new areas, devastatingly affecting native ecosystems.

Lastly, self eroding coatings also wash off by themself. They leach biocides and microplastic into the ocean on purpose.

One of the issues with microplastics in the ocean is that they are ingested by marine organisms such as plankton, fish, and whales. These particles accumulate in their tissues and organs, causing physical harm and disrupting their biological functions. This can lead to decreased reproductive success, stunted growth, and even death.

Microplastics in the ocean also have the potential to enter our food chain and impact human health. For example, studies have shown that microplastics are present in seafood, such as fish and shellfish, that humans consume. Think about that next time you are eating your sushi.

Are there any foreseeable laws that require a more sustainable coating like yours?

Overall, the EU has taken a strong stance on promoting sustainable and non-toxic coatings for ships and boats and has implemented a range of regulations and directives to achieve this goal. These include the Ship Recycling Regulation, The Biocidal Products Regulation, and The REACH Regulation. Others include The Marine Strategy Framework Directive, The Marine Strategy Framework Directive, and lastly, The International Convention on the Control of Harmful Anti-fouling Systems on Ships.

Details of these directives appear at the end of the article

How do you know your product will live up to its expectations?

We won’t release a product until we’re happy it will deliver on our promises and USPs.

We’re currently working with trusted partners in the shipping industry to test the product in various water conditions. With extensive testing, we’re confident the product will deliver on what we promise. We’re always eager to bring onboard new partners, so if you’re reading this and interested, please reach out.

Can offshore installations also be coated?

They can, indeed. We don’t want to stop just at the shipping industry, our dream is to coat anything that fouls, therefore reducing biofouling and the associated issues. The sky’s the limit or maybe the ocean bed? ha ha!

What is your favourite ocean creature?

This is an easy one. Octopus! How can you not love a creature with three hearts, nine brains (and uses them), and blue blood?

EU regulations explained

The Ship Recycling Regulation: This regulation applies to all ships flying the flag of an EU Member State and requires the use of non-toxic and environmentally sound ship recycling methods. It prohibits the use of hazardous materials, including certain coatings containing heavy metals, on ships. This convention, which has been ratified by the EU, prohibits the use of certain anti-fouling coatings containing harmful substances, such as tributyltin (TBT), on ships. This convention, which has been ratified by the EU, prohibits the use of certain anti-fouling coatings containing harmful substances, such as tributyltin (TBT), on ships.

The Biocidal Products Regulation: This regulation governs the use of biocidal products in the EU, including coatings that are intended to prevent the growth of marine organisms on the hulls of ships. The regulation requires the registration of such products and sets strict criteria for their approval and use.

The REACH Regulation: This regulation governs the registration, evaluation, authorization, and restriction of chemicals used in the EU, including those used in coatings for ships and boats. It aims to ensure that such chemicals do not risk human health or the environment.

The Marine Strategy Framework Directive: This directive aims to protect the marine environment and promote sustainable use of marine resources in the EU. It requires member states to develop marine strategies that include measures to reduce the impact of shipping on the marine environment, including the use of non-toxic and environmentally friendly coatings.