In December 2015, International Volunteer Day took on a special meaning for global paints and coatings business AkzoNobel and Youth With a Mission (YWAM). The company recently partnered with YWAM Medical Ships Australia (YWAM MSA) in Cairns, Australia, to transform an old catamaran into a medical service and training ship.

In over three months the ship and its 196 volunteers have provided medical and training services to 12,012 Papua New Guinea patients across 81 villages. The medical ship, the MV YWAM PNG, received a donation of the Intersleek coating system. The biocide-free fouling control coating features unique, patented slime-release technology that combats micro fouling on ships’ hulls, maintaining performance throughout the docking cycle. The super slippery coating surface has been shown to generate fuel and emissions savings on average of nine percent.

Jeremy Schierer, Captain of the MV YWAM PNG, said “The coating AkzoNobel so generously donated has resulted in massive savings in fuel, money and time. Before the refit we used, on average, 6,000 liters of fuel per day. It has since dropped to around 4,800 liters per day, resulting in a savings of $1,500 per day underway. This means we are able to allocate more funds to frontline services on the ship, which has enabled us to deliver better medical services. We are also excited about a coating system that allows five years between dry docking, a huge savings in time and money.”

Leon Kyle, Regional Manager for AkzoNobel’s Marine Coatings business, said, “Given the massive impact the MV YWAM PNG medical ship and the volunteers have had on so many people, we are delighted that we could play a role in making it happen. It is an illustration of how, when business, NGOs and volunteers work together, we can truly make a difference to those most in need.

“Sustainability is central to our company strategy and we want to become a company that integrates it into the heart of everything we do. The medical ship, with its new coating, can now reach far-flung communities faster, save fuel and emit less carbon dioxide and air pollutants into the environment.”

The MV YWAM PNG is currently docked in Townsville, Austrialia, undergoing renovations including the construction of a new dentistry clinic and day surgery unit. It sets sail for its next deployment to Papua New Guinea some time this month. 

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