Making the HQS WELLINGTON COVID-19 ‘Unfriendly’

Back in June when the Government’s guidance on travelling to work was eased, a small crew returned to the ship to start preparing for our planned reopening in September 2020 for our members and hospitality functions.

We have been busy with setting up cleaning procedures and sanitisation stations, as seen in other places of work.  In the reception area, we have a designated hand sanitisation station whereby all personnel arriving onboard are required to clean their hands and if required, collect a new facemask. In addition to this, we have built a new glass protection screen at reception to protect our team. Around the ship, we have deployed mobile hand sanitiser stands which can be moved depending on the demand. In addition to this, we have displayed our COVID-19 Poster, reminding all visitors and members of our new rules.

Whilst we have introduced the same protocols and cleaning procedures as other places of work, we have gone the extra mile to help kill and stop the spread of COVID-19 on our surfaces thanks to one of our members, Lt Cdr Derek Ireland MBE JP RNR.  Lt Cdr Ireland is the Chairman of our Professional & Technical Committee and has provided and donated to the ship an antimicrobial film that is using one of nature’s natural virus killers, Copper (Cu). Copper can help control the spread of a virus left on inanimate objects such as doors, work surfaces, press buttons, levers and touch screens. The killing of bacteria by copper, so-called “contact killing,” is now well established and has explicitly been shown for many species. Bacteria are killed within minutes on surfaces of copper or copper alloys containing at least 60% copper.

Here is Lt Cdr Derek Ireland with his son and grandson, all helped to get the ship ready with this advanced antimicrobial copper film.

Coronavirus, like SARS (Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome) and MERS (Middle East Respiratory Syndrome), are those pathogenic organisms, more influential to animals than humans, which sometimes form mutant strains potentially fatal to human life.

Different viruses seem to have differing abilities to survive outside the body, however, and we are still learning about the new one. One study suggests that the coronavirus can survive for up to 72 hours on plastic and stainless steel, less than 24 hours on cardboard and less than 4 hours on copper

Antimicrobial activity of Copper (Cu)

Copper dissolves from the copper surface and causes cell damage. Copper ions infiltrate through the bacteria cell.
Copper ions induce the generation of reactive oxygen species, which cause further cell damage. Acceleration of cell destruction.
The cell membrane ruptures because of copper and other stress phenomena, leading to loss of membrane potential and cytoplasmic content. Destruction of cell membrane.
Genomic and plasmid DNA becomes degraded. Genome and plasmid DNA decomposition. Suspension of Cell replication and self-replication.

Antimicrobial Film Cu+

The Antimicrobial material consists of a Polyethylene terephthalate (PET) film 11 microns thick. The film has 3 types of copper powder, spherical, dendritic and flake formations distributed throughout the material. The copper powder and polymer pass through an Archimedes screw mixer to ensure the copper particles are uniformly dispersed and have not united thus maintaining a constant antimicrobial effect of the finished sheet.

PET is the most widely produced plastic in the world. It is used predominantly as a fibre (known by the trade name “polyester”) and for bottling or packaging. For example, PET is the plastic used for bottled water and is highly recyclable.

Adhesive Backed Antimicrobial Film Cu+

This material is the same as above but has a strong adhesive coating and silicon coated backing paper enabling the film to be stuck directly to a surface. Both products are supplied on a roll, 400mm wide x 20 metre in length or on reels 25 and 50 mm wide. The products carry the Cu+ logo.

The International Copper Alliance (ICA) is international non-profit alliance with a history going back 60 years. It was established in 1960 for promoting technologic invention in the copper market.

To recognise the superiority of antimicrobial copper to customers, they attached the Cu+ mark as a certification mark to copper/copper alloys containing more than 60% of copper that have an antimicrobial effect as an internationally recognised acknowledgement. Cu+ mark branded copper-related product is acknowledged for their antimicrobial effect that can be utilized without apprehension.

What to know more?

With this new antimicrobial film, Lt Cdr Ireland has worked tirelessly to professionally cover designated surfaces which people would naturally and regularly touch such as handrails, doors and hatch handles.

If you would like to know more about this antimicrobial film and you want to purchase it for your ship and/or establishment, please email PT@hcmm.org.uk

Supporting documents

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