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Safeguarding Offshore Structures: An Exploration of ISO 12944-9 Standard

Safeguarding Offshore Structures: An Exploration of ISO 12944-9 Standard

Corrosion poses a significant threat to the longevity and structural integrity of offshore and related structures. These structures are exposed to harsh environments, leading to an increased risk of corrosion and, consequently, the need for proper protection.

The ISO 12944-9 standard provides comprehensive guidelines for safeguarding steel structures from corrosion using protective paint systems. In this blog post, we’ll explore the essential aspects of the ISO 12944-9 standard and discuss how it can be applied to ensure the long-lasting performance of offshore and related structures.

Understanding ISO 12944-9

The ISO 12944-9 standard, titled “Paints and varnishes – Corrosion protection of steel structures by protective paint systems – Part 9: Protective paint systems and laboratory performance test methods for offshore and related structures,” focuses on protecting steel structures in challenging marine environments. The standard covers uncoated carbon steel surfaces and metal-coated surfaces, such as hot-dip galvanized steel or those treated with thermal-sprayed metallic coatings.

Identifying Corrosion Zones
The standard identifies different zones for testing protective paint systems, with the splash and tidal zones combined into one set of tests for qualification purposes. The splash zone, the area wetted by wave and spray action, experiences exceptionally high corrosion stresses, especially with seawater.

Laboratory Performance Test Methods
To evaluate the effectiveness of protective paint systems in preventing corrosion, ISO 12944-9 outlines laboratory performance test methods.

Accelerated Laboratory Tests
These tests simulate long-term exposure to harsh environmental conditions within a shorter period. They include:

  • Salt Spray Tests: These tests subject paint systems to continuous or cyclic salt spray exposure to assess their corrosion resistance.
  • Cyclic Corrosion Tests: These tests involve multiple cycles of corrosive conditions, such as salt spray, humidity, and drying, to mimic real-world conditions and evaluate the paint system’s performance.
  • Immersion Tests: These tests involve immersing the painted steel specimens in various liquids, such as seawater, to assess their corrosion resistance.

Selecting Protective Paint Systems
ISO 12944-9 provides guidelines for selecting the appropriate protective paint systems for offshore and related structures. The selection process considers factors such as the type of structure, environmental conditions, and the expected service life of the protective paint system. The standard offers detailed information on various types of protective paint systems, including:

  • Epoxy Coatings: These coatings provide excellent adhesion, durability, and chemical resistance, making them suitable for various offshore applications.
  • Polyurethane Coatings: Known for their flexibility, chemical resistance, and weatherability, polyurethane coatings are an excellent choice for offshore structures exposed to harsh conditions.
  • Zinc-Rich Coatings: These coatings contain a high percentage of zinc particles, providing galvanic protection to steel substrates and enhancing corrosion resistance.


ISO 12944-9 serves as a comprehensive resource for protecting offshore and related structures from corrosion using protective paint systems. The standard covers all aspects of corrosion protection, from the types of surfaces that require protection to the laboratory tests used to evaluate the effectiveness of protective paint systems.

By providing detailed information on the selection process for various protective paint systems, ISO 12944-9 facilitates informed decision-making to ensure optimal protection for offshore and related structures.

Understanding ISO 12944-9’s depth and breadth is critical for those involved in the design, construction, and maintenance of offshore and related structures. By following its guidelines, one can select the appropriate protective paint system that aligns with the specific environmental conditions and the expected service life of the structure.

To sum it up, ISO 12944-9 is more than a mere guideline; it is a beacon for navigating the complex waters of corrosion protection. By adhering to its principles, we can ensure that our offshore and related structures not only withstand the harsh environmental conditions but also continue to function optimally throughout their service life.

De Coating Nerd

“Waar ik ook ben, op mijn werk of als ik vrij ben, ik kijk naar alles waar een verflaagje op zit. Helemaal als er iets mis mee is. Roestplekken, blaasjes en afbladderende verf, daar word ik gelukkig van! Nou ja, gelukkig… dat is wat overdreven. Maar ik vind het machtig interessant. Wat een mazzel heb ik dan ook dat ik hier mijn beroep van heb mogen maken. De hele dag onderzoek doen aan verfsystemen, ge(poeder)coate voorwerpen en bedrijven helpen bij het verbeteren van hun product.”

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