Thorn-D® antifouling outperforms conventional antifouling coatings and is environmentally friendly. A pilot project which started one-and-a-half years ago, has proven that this new thin film coating performs better than traditional antifoulings. A real ecological and cost-efficient breakthrough for shipping companies and shipyards.

Dutch innovation and award-winning company, Micanti, in co-operation with Damen Shipyards, launched a pilot project in the Port of Amsterdam in February 2013.

Two virtually identical sister ships
were treated with two different
coatings. The
Castor, a Damen Stan Tug 1907, was treated with a well-known conventional antifouling coating. The Pollux, also a Stan Tug 1907, was treated with the new foil, Thorn-D®. Both vessels operated at low speed in the Port of Amsterdam, under the same conditions and in the same waters.


“When I met Micanti’s staff for the first time, I was sceptical about using fibres to prevent marine growth. And due to Thorn-D®’s textured surface as opposed to a smooth conventional coating, I expected an increase in drag and fuel

consumption,” remarks Willem Spoelstra, Manager Environment and Safety Nautical Department of the Port of Amsterdam. “But surprisingly enough, that was not the case. Thorn-D® lives up to its promise — it prevents marine growth without increasing drag.”

Conventional antifouling coatings need movement to keep marine growth from adhering to the vessel. Thorn-D®, a fibre which acts as a physical barrier, does not require movement, and even works when a ship is moored. “We have measured the speed against its sister vessel Castor (built at Damen at the same time) on delivery. We have seen no differences at all. At present, fuel consumption is still at the level as it was at delivery. On top of this,Thorn-D® is 100% environmentally friendly, essential in reaching sustainability targets,” says Spoelstra.

Regular antifouling coatings fail earlier. The conventional coating is no longer effective once most or all of the toxins have leached into the water. Dr Rik Breur, founder of Micanti, explains:“SinceThorn-D® actsasaphysical barrier against marine growth, it has a longer expected lifetime (guaranteed five years) than traditional antifouling coatings that already start degrading after six months.’’

More foul leads to an increase in drag and higher fuel consumption. The drag on Thorn-D has been tested at (Dutch) research institutes (TNO, Delft University of Technology and 

MARIN) as well as in practice on operating vessels. The general conclusion is that Thorn-D® fibres do not increase drag due to a change in the hydrodynamic flow structure.

“Not only have our pilot project and research results proven Thorn-D®’s outstanding performance, our clients from the Middle East, for example, are also positive about our new product,” adds Rik. “And these clients are constantly battling marine growth.”


Dutch innovation and award-winning company, Micanti, founded in 2006, develops products for effective non-toxic fouling defence technology. Micanti strives to be the market leader for non-toxic antifouling through a patented technology by applying fibre thorns as a fouling repellent.

For years, the patented product Thorn-D has been tested and continuously improved in various environments.


Port of Amsterdam manages, operates and develops the port. It ensures a safe, swift and environmentally responsible management of shipping traffic within its working area. The exploitation is aimed at port sites (rental and leasing), quays and water. In the entire Amsterdam port region a yearly amount of over 94 million tonnes of goods are being transshipped.


Damen Shipyards Group operates 32 ship- and repair yards, employing 9,000 people worldwide. Damen has delivered more than 5,000 vessels in more than 100 countries and delivers approximately 160 vessels annually to customers worldwide. Based on its unique, standardized ship design concept Damen is able to guarantee consistent quality.

Damen’s focus on standardization, modular construction and keeping vessels in stock leads to short delivery times, low ‘total cost  of ownership’, high resale value and reliable performance. Furthermore, Damen vessels are based on thorough R&D and proven technology.

Damen offers a wide range of products, including: tugs, workboats, naval and patrol vessels, high-speed craft, cargo vessels, dredgers, vessels for the offshore industry, ferries, pontoons and super yachts.

For nearly all vessel types Damen offers a broad range of services, such as maintenance, spare parts delivery, training and transfer of (shipbuilding) know-how. Finally, Damen offers a variety of marine components, especially nozzles, (flap-type) rudders, steering gear, anchors, anchor chains and steel works.


In addition to ship design and shipbuilding, Damen Shiprepair & Conversion offers a network of 16 repair and conversion yards worldwide, with dry docks ranging up to 420 x 80 metres. Conversion projects range from adapting vessels to meet today’s requirements and regulations to the complete conversion of large offshore structures. DS&C handles 1,500 repair and maintenance jobs annually.