Removing barnacles from buoy. File Image / Pixabay.
Leaving barnacles on a ship's hull can increase fuel costs, new research has found.
The research, commissioned by Swedish biotech firm I-Tech and undertaken by marine coating consultants Safinah Group, found that barnacle fouling adds to the ship operator's fuel bill.
Hull hard fouling over 10% was found to affect vessel performance through increased hydrodynamic drag.
Many of the ships surveyed in the research were above that level leading the researchers to estimate an additional annual fuel cost to the global commercial fleet of $6 billion, maritime news provider Seanews reported.
Quantifying operational factors such as hull fouling could form part making ships more efficient in the future.