Magnetic patches to stop seawater leaking into a floating vessel or to stop oil leaking from vessels into the sea was developed by Miko Marine in the late 1990s. However, the company has developed a new system to apply its magnetic patches to ships that have been holed by ice in polar waters.
Miko Marine said it would be of particular value to vessels of all types that are applying for Polar Code certification as it “will physically demonstrate their preparedness for dealing with hull damage that might be caused by ice.”
The new Miko Polar Kit is manufactured in Norway and contains a selection of magnetic patches and high-power magnets that can be lowered and secured over an area of hull damage. In an emergency, a patch made from a strong laminate that includes a flexible magnetic layer, can be lowered over the hole where it will stick like a giant fridge magnet. The magnetic adhesion of the patch combined with the outside water pressure closes the hole and keeps it securely in place. Additional high-power magnets might also be used to maintain the seal until the ship is safely in dock.
Studies have shown that that ice damage is most likely to occur near or just below the waterline so the new Polar Kit has been developed to deal with these situations. It contains a system of handling lines pre-rigged through magnets that are attached to the ship’s hull above and below the damaged area. These enable ships to lower and fasten a magnetic patch over a hole without the use of divers.
“With greater awareness of the environmental and safety risks caused by increased shipping in polar waters, higher standards of safety management are being demanded from ship operators,” said Miko’s sales manager, Cato Stoll. “We believe that an ability to deal with ice damage will be seen as an important part of this.”