Targeting ocean pollution

Targeting ocean pollution


Miko Marine continues to make a name for itself on the frontier of original ideas and practical solutions to combat ocean pollution and the problems it presents.

A small team of highly qualified designers based in Oslo is making a name for itself beyond Norway through the original solutions that it is bringing to the problem of ocean pollution. Miko Marine AS is working to prevent oil and other pollutants escaping into the marine environment and has invented some practical solutions that are now real products. Unrestricted by any commitment to a specific technology, Miko designers have been thinking laterally and coming-up with original solutions to some thorny problems.

Marvelous magnets

Miko was founded in 1997 by naval architect and experienced salvage specialist Nicolai Michelsen who realised that that more that could be done to prevent pollution simply by keeping ships afloat. With his father, Frederik, he devised a range of magnetic patches manufactured from high strength fabric that have a powerful and flexible magnetic layer on one side. The patch can seal a hole in a ship or offshore structure as quickly and effectively as a sticking plaster can be applied to a cut finger. They are consequently called Miko magnetic plasters and are now used world-wide. They are carried by every French naval vessel and packs of them are important inventory items aboard all Norwegian Coastal Administration (NCA) craft and also aboard many tankers whose owners recognise the risks that patches can help them avoid.

If a ship suffers damage that is too uneven for magnetic patches to cover, another Miko product can solve the problem. Flexible patches made from polyester-reinforced PVC combined with Aramide / Kevlar – matting can be fastened over the damaged area to create a watertight seal. The patch is shaped to form a shallow bag capable of covering torn or bent plating and has a brim that divers can staple to hulls up to 10 mm thick. The result is a durable, watertight repair in just a few hours instead of the days needed for traditional repair methods.

Flexible Miko patches were recently used to repair two Norwegian fishing boats holed in separate collisions in the far north of Norway. Using Miko patches from packs carried aboard NCA vessels, divers stapled them over the hull damage so the boats could be pumped dry. The NCA inspectors were so impressed with the quality of the repair that one of the boats was authorised to continue fishing in Arctic waters until the end of the season.


The NCA has again become a customer for Miko original thinking after buying an invention designed to protect ships that lose engine power. The ShipArrestor is a sea anchor that can be delivered by helicopter to an abandoned drifting ship at risk of running aground. Such ships will turn beam-on to a heavy sea endangering itself, its cargo and the environment. A conventional search and rescue helicopter can deploy the ShipArrestor around the winch gear on the foredeck of the abandoned vessel and lay its line upwind before releasing the nylon sea anchor. This will turn the ship into the wind almost immediately and slow drift speed by 50 per cent thereby creating more time for it to be reached and picked-up by rescue tugs before running aground.

For those ships that cannot be saved and ultimately sink Miko designers have recently invented an answer to the pollution danger posed buy any oil remaining in its tanks. The Moskito is a tough but complex tool that divers or Remotely Operated Vehicles can fasten magnetically to the outside of the tank. It then drills through the tank wall and automatically seals a hose to the aperture so that the contents can be pumped out and the risk of pollution removed.

With special seals that can stop leaks from storage tanks ashore and with high power magnets that have dozens of uses for divers, the Miko product range is full of original ideas, every one of which demonstrates how ingenuity can be used to help protect our oceans.