A report on the shipbuilding of “SEA SPICA,” the high-speed sightseeing cruiser for island hopping in Setouchi -Vol.4. STU48 members paint the ship’s logo! / West Japan Railway Company 【PR】

The high-speed sightseeing cruiser “SEA SPICA” will be born in summer of 2020!

“SEA SPICA” is a high-speed sightseeing cruiser, and the “West Japan Railway Group” and “Setonaikai Kisen Group” are developing this special ship together.
This is the fourth report on the shipbuilding of it.
The entire structure of SEA SPICA was the shining silver color of aluminum in the previous 3 reports, but now, the process of painting the body is now in progress.
Our reporters for today’s report are 2 members of STU48, Kokoa Kai and Fu Yabushita.

We paint the “SEA SPICA” logo today!

Again, we visit the shipyard of “Setouchi Craft Co., Ltd.” which is engaged in the shipbuilding of SEA SPICA.
We find the “SEA SPICA,” surrounded by scaffolding, is now in the middle of the painting process.
The color of the huge hull was silver before, but now, the base paint has been applied. It looks totally different with two tones, white and red.
Also, there are shiny golden emblems with a symbol depicting 3 stars on the bow.

These logos are made of aluminum, just the same as the entire hull of “SEA SPICA.”
The three-dimensional logos were cut by a laser cutter and look outstanding.
Oh, can you see that one letter is not painted yet, the “A” for the last letter of “SEA SPICA?”
Actually, the members of STU48 will give it a try – painting one letter of the logo!

Before the painting starts, let’s learn about why vessels are coated with paint.

Before the painting process, we learned about why they coat vessels with paint.
The hull of “SEA SPICA” will be dark navy and gold when it’s finished.
Well, is the paint part of the design of the hull?
Mr. Ikeuchi, the section chief of the engineering department thoroughly explains the answer to our question.
“Yes, enhancing its design and texture is one of the purposes of painting, but it is not the only reason,” said Mr. Ikeuchi.
“The most important role of painting is to protect the hull, which is made of metal.”
Indeed…, but we heard that the vessel, which is made of aluminum, is resistant to rust, isn’t it…?

“Aluminum does not rust like steel. However, it can be corroded with “electrolytic corrosion,” which is the result of a chemical reaction between the seawater and the aluminum itself,” Mr. Ikeuchi explained.
“The surface will turn white and crumble if we leave that way without doing anything. In the end, a hole will form on the surface.”
We got it. It is a crucial that the strengths of the aluminum hull be combined with painting in order to make up for its weaknesses.
Some regular paint causes electrolytic corrosion on the aluminum, just like sea water. Therefore, the paint used on aluminum hulls should be exclusively for aluminum so that it won’t lead to corrosion.

The paint on the bottom of the ship – will it dissolve in water!?

Mr. Ikeuchi also explains about the paint on the bottom of the “SEA SPICA.”
“There are two kinds of paint for vessels. One is the ‘ship’s bottom paint’ which is used for the surface below the waterline…, meaning the surface constantly exposed to sea water. The other paint is for the surface above that.”
So that means, different kinds of paint are used for the hull, above and below the waterline?

“Yes, you are right. At first, I will explain about the ship’s bottom paint,” said Mr. Ikeuchi.
“Maybe you know that the part of ship which is under seawater attracts seaweed and shellfish, such as oysters, barnacles, and so on. They can cause the ship to slow down or lead to poor fuel consumption because they increase resistance to the flow of the water. And actually, the ship’s bottom paint prevents this from happening.”
Mr. Ikeuchi continues, “To put it simply, the paint will decompose on its surface, allowing the hull to be kept clean.”
We didn’t know that at all! There is actually a paint which dissolves to help maintain a ship’s speed…!

The copper-colored paint on the surface now is the intermediate coat, called “surfacer.”
The undercoating, called “primer,” has already been applied beneath this paint.
The last coating will finish the job with a black ship’s bottom paint, so there are 3 layers of paint on the bottom of the hull.
“On the other hand, we use different types of paint to prevent the corrosion and to enhance the beauty of the superstructure, as I explained before. These are only 2 layers, the undercoating and the finish.”
Thank you, Mr. Ikeuchi! We totally understand about the painting of the “SEA SPICA”!

2 members of STU48 actually did some of the painting on the logo!

Finally, we are about to start today’s main event, the painting of the last “A” of “SEA SPICA” by 2 members of STU48.
Ms. Yabushita is the first to try. She is a left-hander, and has enjoyed drawing and manual arts since she was small. OK, let’s start!

Slowly and carefully…

OK, now it’s half done!

Next, Ms. Kai paints her half of the logo, and she is a little bit nervous at first…

Eventually, she brushes vigorously.

There is a big smile on Ms. Kai’s face after she finishes her work.

Today’s report ends here. The 2 members of STU48, Ms. Yabushita and Ms. Kai, give us big smiles!
“It was of course my first time to paint the hull,” Ms. Yabushita says, “obviously, a part of the ship’s name is super important, so I was worried if it was OK for me to do that. But I could do it well, and painted carefully so as not to paint outside the lines of the letter.”
“I was so glad and enjoyed having this valuable opportunity,” said Ms. Kai, “this ship which we helped paint will have guests and cruise on the sea… I will be definitely on board, and can’t wait for it!”

In the next report, “SEA SPICA” will finally take to the sea…
Yes, the next report will be about the launching ceremony!
Please look forward to vol.5 of our report, which will tell you the details of the ceremony!

Setouchi Finder Editorial Department

The name of the vessel : “SEA SPICA”

SPICA is the brightest star in the constellation Virgo.
This star shines blue at night in spring, and is one of the first-magnitude stars which forms the Spring Triangle.
It is called the “pearl star” in Japan.
The vessel brilliantly and beautifully shines, and invites people to have free and open travel on the blue sea in Setouchi – this is SEA SPICA, the Setouchi high-speed sightseeing cruiser.

Setouchi Palette Project

Name of the course|Setouchi Shimatabi Line
Operation area|Tobishima Kaido and Shimatabi Kaido area which connects Hiroshima Port (Ujina) and Mihara Port
Operated by|Setouchi Sea Line (a group of Setonaikaikisen)
Ship owners| Japan Railway Construction, Transport and Technology Agency (JRTT) and Setouchi Shimatabi Corporation
Shipyard|Setouchi Craft Co., Ltd.

“SEA SPICA” contributes to “C to Sea Project” run by the Ministry of Land, Infrastructure, Transport and Tourism and Maritime companies, which introduce people to the enjoyment of the sea, and vessels to liven up the sea.
Umikoko by the Ministry of Land, Infrastructure, Transport and Tourism

C to Sea Project in “Setouchi” carried by the Department of Transportation in the Chugoku area
Website of Department of Transportation in Chugoku (C to Sea Chugoku area)

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