Economic impact of biofouling on a naval surface ship

Biofouling. 2011 Jan;27(1):87-98. doi: 10.1080/08927014.2010.542809.


In the present study, the overall economic impact of hull fouling on a mid-sized naval surface ship (Arleigh Burke-class destroyer DDG-51) has been analyzed. A range of costs associated with hull fouling was examined, including expenditures for fuel, hull coatings, hull coating application and removal, and hull cleaning. The results indicate that the primary cost associated with fouling is due to increased fuel consumption attributable to increased frictional drag. The costs related to hull cleaning and painting are much lower than the fuel costs. The overall cost associated with hull fouling for the Navy's present coating, cleaning, and fouling level is estimated to be $56M per year for the entire DDG-51 class or $1B over 15 years. The results of this study provide guidance as to the amount of money that can be reasonably spent for research, development, acquisition, and implementation of new technologies or management strategies to combat hull fouling.

Publication types

  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, Non-P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Biofilms / growth & development
  • Biofouling / economics*
  • Biofouling / prevention & control*
  • Friction
  • Marine Biology
  • Ships* / economics
  • Surface Properties