When any structure is immersed in seawater, a fouling process begins whereby a great variety of marine organisms gradually attach themselves to the stucture. This process is quite complex, and varies in nature according to the geographical region, but the effect on ships' hulls is to increase the weight and drag on the vessel, resulting in a greater expenditure of fuel in order to maintain a cruising speed; it has been estimated that this increase in fuel consumption is about 40% after just six months' fouling. Additional costs are incurred by the need periodically to clean off the fouling, plus there is of course a loss of revenue when the ship is dry‐docked and out of service.
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