Monday, December 5, 2016

Latest Bearings Technology Offers Vessel Owners a Chance to Cut Significant Source of Pollution

Call for Oil Filled Propeller Shafts to be Replaced
Shipping News Feature
THE NETHERLANDS – Talking to the representatives of attending the World Ocean Council’s fourth Sustainable Ocean Summit last week, Director of Marketing and Customer Service at Thordon Bearings’, Craig Carter, explained that the fleet of 45,000 ocean-going vessels that continue to operate oil-lubricated shaft bearings are estimated to be leaking the equivalent of five Exxon Valdez oil spills into the ocean every year.

Acknowledging the raft of environmental challenges ship owners are already faced with, he said that the shipping industry must decide whether ocean sustainability can really be achieved with the continued use of a system that discharges between 130 million and 244 million litres of operational oil into the ocean environment every year. Carter said:

“Ship-owners have a decision to make, continue to use oil systems that have the potential to pollute and may not meet pollution regulations or return to seawater lubrication. Since we started installing seawater lubricated bearing systems in the early 1990s, we have prevented over 62 million litres of oil being discharged into our oceans and seas. A seawater lubricated propeller shaft bearing system is the only system that guarantees compliance with all pollution regulations and has zero impact on environment. Isn’t it time we prevented propeller shaft discharges of oil from all commercial ships?”

Carter, whose company makes seawater lubricated shaft bearings, explained that the technology had progressed to the point that non-polluting options are now viable and should see wider implementation for the shipping industry to meet its environmental commitments. He continued:

“Polymer materials and bearing designs have advanced to ensure long life performance with very low operating costs. All of the major classification societies have now revised their shaft withdrawal and inspection regimes due to the new technology allowing full monitoring of a seawater system. The technology now offers the technical equivalent of an oil lubricated stern tube but without the risk of pollution and associated fines. Ship-owners now have a viable, cost-effective option.”

Carter’s address on the final day of the four-day conference, which took place in Rotterdam, followed this year’s underlying theme Ocean 2030: Sustainable Development Goals and the Ocean Business Community.

The annual event brought together ocean industry leaders from shipping, oil and gas, fisheries, aquaculture, ports, mining, insurance, finance, renewable offshore energy, tourism, shipbuilding, marine technology and other industries.