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NYK and Nippon Steel Receive Ichimura Industrial Award for Development and Use of Highly Corrosion-Resistant Steel on Crude-Oil Tankers

May 10, 2011


Nippon Steel Corporation (head office: Chiyoda-ku, Tokyo; representative director and president: Shoji Muneoka) and Nippon Yusen Kabushiki Kaisha (NYK Line; head office: Chiyoda-ku, Tokyo; president: Yasumi Kudo) have received the Contribution Prize for fiscal 2010 from the New Technology Development Foundation (president: Prince Tomohito of Mikasa) at the 43rd Ichimura Industrial Awards. The prize was awarded for the development and use of NSGP-1,* highly corrosion-resistant steel plates that are now being used on crude-oil tankers around the world. The Ichimura Industrial Awards are respected for their tradition of recognizing parties who contribute to the growth of Japanese industries through the domestic development of technology
1. Outline of the award
1) Name of the award
Contribution Prize of the Ichimura Industrial Awards
2) Theme
“Development of high corrosion resistant steel plates for crude oil tankers in environmentally responsible manner on a global scale”
3) Recipients
l         Kenji Kato; Chief Researcher; Plate, Pipe Tube, and Shape Research Lab., Steel Research Laboratories, Technical Development Bureau, Nippon Steel Corporation
l         Seiji Nishimura, Manager, Plate Sales Division, Nippon Steel Corporation
l         Hidehiko Sato, Team Leader, LNG Group, NYK Line
2. Background of the development
During the latter half of the 1990s, hundreds to thousands of deep-pit corrosions (diagram 1) were founded often on the bottom plates of tanks in crude-oil tankers, which created a risk of leakage and the marine pollution. In response, tanks should be regularly inspected and painted, but such maintenance required great time and cost. For this reason, a radical solution for corrosion resistance was needed.
3. Details on the development
Nippon Steel identified that the corrosion was caused by highly concentrated and strong acidic salt water that would separate out from crude oil and accumulate at the bottom of tanks.The company then developed a new steel material, NSGP-1, which exhibited superior corrosion resistance even in an extraordinarily severe environment. Contributing factors included an optimal component design in terms of the type and quantity of alloy added to steel stock as well as the technology used on the surface of the steel stock in nanometer** order.
The two companies applied NSGP-1 to the bottom of a tank on one of NYK Line’s very large crude-oil carriers (VLCC; diagram 2) to confirm the effects (diagram 3). Before the use of NSGP-1, an inspection of a traditional crude-oil carrier would typically indicated thousands of pits needing repair. Since the adoption of NSGP-1, no pits have resulted and thus no repairs have been needed.
NYK Line then decided to adopt NSGP-1 on all newly built crude-oil tankers, and since 2007, the company has used more than 15,000 tons of NSGP-1 (equal to approximately 10 VLCCs).
4. Features and effects of NSGP-1
1)        Cost required for painting at the time of construction and repair is reduced.
2)        Vessel safety and reliability are improved because the steel stock itself resists corrosion.
3)        Coating materials and organic solvents are not needed, so environmentally sound vessels can be realized.
4)        Since a small quantity of alloy (rare metal) allows for such significant corrosion resistance, welding and processing can be implemented in the same fashion as work on conventional steel stock.
5. Movement toward the establishment of international standard steel stock, triggered by Japan
The effectiveness of NSGP-1 has been recognized internationally. Upon the previous year’s revision in the International Convention for the Safety of Life at Sea (SOLAS) treaty*** in relation to corrosion-preventive measures for the tanks of crude-oil tankers, corrosion-resistant steel was specified as an effective corrosion-resistant technology. When this rule was designated, the superior performance of NSGP-1 tankers was recognized.
In circumstances in which the demand for energy is heightened on a global scale, Nippon Steal and NYK Line will continue their efforts to improve the safety of vessels and to contribute to the betterment of the global environment.
* The Nippon Steel Green Project (NSGP) is a registered trademark of Nippon Steal.
** 1/1,000,000,000 meters
*** An international treaty adopted in May 2010 by Maritime Safety Committee (MSC) 87 in the International Maritime Organization (IMO) requiring anticorrosive protection by alternative measures such as painting in accordance with painting performance criteria or usage of corrosion-resistant steel to be applied to cargo oil tanks for crude-oil tankers that are more than 5,000 deadweight tons (DWT). Corrosion-prevention measures are mandatory for tankers to be constructed in 2013 on and after.

Diagram 1: Pitting corrosion on the bottom of a tank in a crude-oil tanker
Left image : Bottom of tank , Right image : Pitting corrosion
Diagram 1: Pitting corrosion on the bottom of a tank in a crude-oil tanker

Diagram 2: Very Large Crude Oil Carrier on which NSGP-1 is applied

Diagram 3: Performance on actual tankers


§            About NYK
Nippon Yusen Kabushiki Kaisha is one of the world's leading transportation companies. At the end of March 2010, the NYK Group was operating 803 major ocean vessels, as well as fleets of planes, trains, and trucks. The company's shipping fleet includes 142 containerships, 321 bulk carriers, 57 woodchip carriers, 115 car carriers, 85 tankers, 30 LNG carriers, three cruise ships, and 50 other ships. NYK's revenue in fiscal 2009 was about $18 billion, and as a group NYK employs about 55,000 people worldwide. NYK is based in Tokyo and has regional headquarters in London, New York, Singapore, Hong Kong, Shanghai, Sydney, and Sao Paulo.
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