Norwegian maritime company Antisink has turned to Luxfer for its industry-leading lightweight and durable gas cylinders, to deliver a revolutionary technology that will help prevent shipwrecks and save lives at sea.
Growing up near an open stretch of sea in southern Norway, Antisink’s CEO Geir Karlsen was witness to the heartache of what he saw as too many boats going down and too many people lost at sea for no reason. In the 1990s, he began to interrogate a solution.
“When a boat’s sinking under you, and you only have the nose above water, you’re not going to see its passengers in choppy waters,” Geir says. “I knew some of these people who were lost at sea. Men, women and children dying – all because they couldn’t be found before it was too late.”
“All of those people could probably still be alive had their boats managed to stay above the water. If a boat is still floating we can easily find it, and its passengers. So, I started to think, what if we could devise a way to keep the boats and the people afloat?”
Fast forward 30 years to January 2017 and Antisink was founded with one goal in mind: to save lives. And with a market of 25 million leisure boats worldwide and around 2.5 million fishing vessels, the potential of risk to life was – and continues to be – vast.
Based in the Norwegian coastal city of Kristiansand, Antisink has since revolutionised boat safety with its life-saving system – a self-inflating buoyancy bag designed to protect the vessel and its passengers at sea. Securely fastened within the boat’s hull, the system will keep a boat afloat for weeks, significantly reducing the chances of hypothermia-induced injuries, saving lives and helping reduce environmental damage.
Geir explains: “if the boat goes down, you will likely freeze to death. But if you can stay in the boat, you can keep warm and survive for hours, or even call for help instead of being stuck down in the water.
“So, we designed a system that can be installed within the boat itself completely stopping it from sinking. It comprised three main components: the buoyancy bags to provide lift, big foam canisters and hoses to join them together.”
A challenge for the developers was to deliver a high level of buoyancy, so they began researching alternatives to foam canisters.
Antisink’s Bjøro Karlsen, who helped design the product, adds: “We needed a smaller installation system but greater levels of buoyancy. CO2 is used in life rafts, so we started looking at CO2 cylinders to provide the necessary air and contacted several aluminium cylinder manufacturers. That’s when we found Luxfer. We made contact in early 2021 and since then, we’ve designed a robust system incorporating Luxfer’s high quality cylinders, which can keep a boat afloat for weeks, with little maintenance required.”
With Luxfer’s L6X Type 1 inflation cylinders in place, the Antisink system is activated automatically once it senses excessive flooding, filling the buoyancy bags in under a minute and providing enough lift to keep the boat above sea level.
By being installed inside the vessel, the system displaces water from the boat’s internal compartments, keeping passengers safe for as long as necessary for help to arrive. All cylinders are tested for leaks once filled with CO2, with safety paramount.
“If we didn’t have Luxfer, our system wouldn’t work,” Bjøro adds. “We need the quality, we need for the cylinders not to corrode, and we need to be able to reuse them. Luxfer plays a vital role – and we’re very happy that they’ve created a blue cylinder for us to use: the Antisink blue.
“It was also critical to have a product that can be used all over the world and we found that Luxfer’s products are approved for all markets, and can be transported with the pressure on – these were major selling points for us.”
Geir adds he has always been impressed by the service provided by Luxfer and values the relationship he and his team have with the company – a harmonious relationship strengthened by their shared consideration for sustainability.
“Both Antisink and Luxfer produce high quality and sustainable products. Our systems are green. Aluminium cylinders are easier to recycle and they can be reused; they can be refilled and there’s no waste.
“Plus, our systems are affordable and accessible, while being easy for the owner to install themselves (as the system is pre-assembled). There are no other products out there like ours; a system that is activated automatically and can be installed inside the boat with no need to cut any holes. Thanks to the compact size, they can be hidden under the floor or in cupboards, and can be fitted in many kinds of vessels, from a small fishing boat or leisure cruiser to a £10million superyacht.
“You can usually fix the boat too, which makes the insurance companies looking after those £10million boats very happy.
“And there are so many environmental benefits to keeping boats afloat. Shipwrecks are one of the biggest sources of marine pollution so if we can avoid that, we’re reducing impact.
“Our goal was always to save lives. These other elements are just a bonus.”
With access to the variety in size of Luxfer’s cylinders, and the team’s support, Antisink is now gearing up to extend its business with more new products in development.
“Our rescue kit is being trialled by the Royal Norwegian Navy,” Geir says. “We’re hoping they will see its value and roll it out across all coastguards in Norway. And if we’re approved by the Navy, our systems will receive automatic approval from NATO. If we grow into this market, we’ll need Luxfer’s help to create a system with a cylinder which fits into a small case for coastguards to transport easily.
“With Luxfer’s help we’re hoping we’ll soon be able to create a system with bigger cylinders which is suitable for larger boats. There’s potential to protect so many lives but it’s not just that. A 50ft boat is 25 tonnes of plastic on the sea bottom if it goes down. We can prevent this.
“In Norway alone, there are thousands of boats at the bottom of the sea. We’re thinking about the sea and the environment all the time, so we’re now also in the process of developing a new product to start rescuing those ships and alleviate some of the marine pollution.” As legislation tightens, and rules around the requirement for buoyancy equipment increases in the interests of protecting the environment, Geir is hoping more boat owners and insurance companies see the benefit in Antisink’s products. He adds: “Floating tanks are expensive to build in and take up storage. If we can get Antisink approved as an alternative, there’s no need to rebuild any of these boats. Our systems can be installed with ease and for low cost and with that, we hope the demand for our products – and Luxfer cylinders – will grow.”
Sally Jollands, Inside Sales Manager at Luxfer Gas Cylinders Europe adds: “Antisink has a very interesting and innovative use for our cylinders, and at Luxfer we’re excited to see where this will take them; going from a start-up company to supplying their system to countries across the world on a wide range of boats. The environmental benefits of the product are clear, and align well with Luxfer’s own goals, to help create a safe and sustainable world using our life-protecting gas containment technology. We look forward to supporting Antisink in achieving their overall mission.”
View a video of the latest Antisink technology using Luxfer cylinders here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1oHWbsCf_CI
For more information or to enquire about our CO2 Inflation Cylinders Contact Us