Castrol Secures Environmental Acceptance

Marine News
Wednesday, September 11, 2013

Less than six months before the U.S. Vessel General Permit takes effect, Castrol Marine is working with owners to ensure they are truly compliant within definitions set out for ‘Environmentally Acceptable Lubricant’ in U.S. waters. From December 2013, new requirements come into effect covering the substances deemed acceptable for discharge by ships in US waters. Few operators, perhaps, will be fully aware of what the revised ‘Vessel General Permit’ (VGP) means when it identifies “Environmentally Acceptable Lubricants” (EAL).

Eliminating Gray Areas
Unless deemed ‘technically infeasible’, EALs must be used in order for a VGP to be valid. Failure by a vessel to produce a valid permit means The United States Coast Guard can issue written warnings and, ultimately, mount civil and criminal action including potential penalties ranging up to $25,000.
EALs as defined in the 2013 VGP mean lubricants that are “biodegradable”, “minimally toxic,” and “not bioaccumulative”.
These definitions do not qualify lubricants developed for other applications (for example, those developed for industrial applications) to be brought in to the maritime sector without considering the challenging conditions they will face. The permit’s definitions draw explicit attention in their labeling requirements to other standards on lubricant environmental responsibility – OSPAR (Convention for the Protection of the Marine Environment of the North-East Atlantic), Blue Angel, European Ecolabel, Nordic Swan and Swedish Standard SS 155470 and 155434.
“Claims for ‘environmentally responsible’ products are made widely but can sometimes be misleading,” says Susannah Linington, Castrol Marine Environmental Specialist. “It is a great step forward having defined criteria for determining the environmental performance of marine lubricants.  This means that environmental claims can be backed up by relevant scientific testing.”
“OSPAR requires testing the individual chemicals in a product in seawater as this is the environment they will ultimately end up in,” she says. “Although seawater testing can be harder to pass than freshwater or soil testing, this is the regime we have adopted at Castrol for developing our BioRange of products.  This ensures that we can supply documentary evidence why our products meet the environmental standards laid out in the VGP”.
Castrol BioStat and BioBar ranges are registered under OSPAR and therefore meet the criteria for being EALs under the VGP. Owners will also need to be assured that the products they select meet acceptable standards in terms of performance. Here, Linington explains, Castrol Marine has spent the four years since the revised VGP was first raised securing Original Equipment Manufacturer approvals for BioRange products in the marine context.

Environmentally Acceptable Lubricants

  • As of January 2014, all non-recreational vessels (apart from armed forces vessels) of over 79ft length that enter US waters must use an EAL in all oil-to-sea interfaces, unless an EAL is deemed ‘technically infeasible’.
  • Each VGP is valid for five years. For vessels of 300 gross tons and above, there is also a requirement to submit a notice of intent at least 7 days (electronically), or 30 days (paper version) before calling USA waters.
  • EALs are required for applications at risk of operational leaks into US waters. This means all equipment in contact with the sea including:- controllable pitch propellers; thrusters; paddle wheels; stern tubes; stabilizers; rudder bearings; propulsion pods; wire rope; and any other mechanical equipment subject to immersion.  
  • Furthermore, EALs must be used for any equipment on deck which has contact with water and in all two stroke inboard diesel engines. If, for any reason, a vessel is unable to use an EAL, the reasons why must be documented, and owners must report the use of a non-EAL to the EPA in their Annual Report.

A Question of Performance
Castrol Marine believes that developing an entire range of marine grade lubricants based on an unfolding legislative program, and at the same time securing OEM approvals ahead of time, represents an original methodology. But it also believes its coordinated efforts to share regulatory knowledge with customers will not be sufficient; only by working with customers to forecast the size and location centers of demand for its EAL compliant range can it claim to offer a truly market responsive approach.
According to Linington, Castrol’s first principle for BioRange was to offer drop-in replacements for lubricants based on conventional mineral oils. A good example of this approach is Castrol’s BioStat, suited for applications such as stern tubes, reduction gear, thrusters, spurs, helical and planetary gear units, couplings, and rolling and sliding bearings. “BioStat fluids contain selected additives ensuring good oxidation stability, good anti-corrosion and anti-wear properties and reduced environmental impact in comparison with conventional mineral oil based products,” Ms Linington explains.
Castrol Marine is currently working with customers to analyze vessels using its lubricants calling US waters and the machinery in scope in their fleet, and to advise on what equipment is or is not in scope for VGP compliance. In doing so, the company is also mindful of the narrowness of the ‘technical infeasibility’ provisions within the VGP. She points out what technical infeasibility actually means according to the revised permit scheme:

  • No EAL products are approved for use in a given application.
  • Products which come pre-lubricated (e.g., wire ropes lubricated for life during manufacture), with no EAL available during manufacture.
  • EALs meeting manufacturers’ specifications are not available in any port at which the vessel calls.
  • Change over and use of an EAL must wait until the vessel’s next dry-docking.


Areas of Responsibility
If all this appears routine, the responsibility of knowing what is or is not technically infeasible rests with the owner. It is the owner who must document whether the EALs are registered under a labeling program. If a vessel is subjected to a spot check, and an EAL is not being used because it is deemed technically infeasible, recordkeeping must include documentation as to the reason.
Ms Linington also points out that the VGP uses more sophisticated criteria than the so-called ‘sheen rule’ to determine compliance. “Even lubricants that do not create a film or sheen on the water surface can have very poor marine environmental performance resulting in persistent, bioaccumulative and toxic chemicals entering the sea,” she says.
“Choosing a lubricant that does not sheen, but has the potential to create a film or discoloration on the water or a sludge or emulsion in the water may leave a vessel operator open to charges of failure to report a spill should a discharge take place that is not reported as required. Choosing a lubricant that sheens also has the benefit of alerting operators to the fact that a piece of equipment may have malfunctioned and require repair.”  
Castrol Marine’s advice is that compliance with the VGP on lubricant requires product-specific attention. It will rely on shipowners being sure that the environmental claims made for the lubricants they choose stand up to the scrutiny required for EALs by regulators with a marine environment-specific agenda.


(As published in the August 2013 edition of Marine News - www.marinelink.com)

Maritime Reporter August 2014 Digital Edition
FREE Maritime Reporter Subscription
Latest Maritime News    rss feeds

New Products

New e-Navigation Technologies from Transas

Transas Marine introduced new software solutions for voyage planning and fleet management at SMM 2014 as a step towards becoming the forerunner in the development of e-Navigation technologies.

J D Neuhaus Adds New Hydraulic Hoists

Hoists incorporating the latest generation of super silent hydraulics have now been added to the J D Neuhaus range of high performance lifting and handling equipment.

Fifth Jackup Contract for Keppel from Gulf Drilling

Keppel FELS Limited, a wholly owned subsidiary of Keppel Offshore & Marine, has secured a contract from Gulf Drilling International Ltd. of Qatar to build a

Environmental

MNZ Inspectors Board Fishing Vessels Off South Island

A joint operation by Maritime New Zealand (MNZ) and the New Zealand Defence Force – Operation Moana – has seen 16 fishing vessels operating off the west coast of

Seacure Higher Flow-Rate BWTS Certified by BSH

Evoqua inform that the Federal Maritime and Hydrographic Agency of Germany (Bundesamt für Seeschifffahrt und Hydrographie- BSH), which previously granted the Evoqua

Aiming to Make Less Fuel Go Further: Maersk Drilling

Maersk Drilling says it is engaged in an energy efficiency project for its newbuilds together with Maersk Maritime Technology. The project involves an Energy Management System (MSPS),

Fuels & Lubes

Aiming to Make Less Fuel Go Further: Maersk Drilling

Maersk Drilling says it is engaged in an energy efficiency project for its newbuilds together with Maersk Maritime Technology. The project involves an Energy Management System (MSPS),

Maersk Sees US Approval of Shipping Alliance as Formality

U.S. regulatory approval of a proposed shipping alliance involving AP Moeller Maersk should be a formality, the Danish company's chief executive said on Wednesday.

Buckeye Pipeline Quietly Makes Key Acquisition

Houston-based logistic firm Buckeye Partners has spent more than $3.5 billion buying assets since 2010, transforming itself from a quiet regional pipeline utility into an emerging energy powerhouse.

Marine Power

Ship Safety: IMO Committee Agree Draft IGF Code

IMO informs that the draft International Code of Safety for Ships using Gases or other Low flashpoint Fuels (IGF Code), along with proposed amendments to make the Code mandatory under SOLAS,

Cat, Deltamarin Develop Modular FPSO Power Unit

Caterpillar Launches New Modular Solution Developed with Deltamarin for FPSO and Offshore Platform Main Power at 2014 Rio Oil & Gas Expo and Conference Caterpillar

Gas Turbine Acceptance Test Completed for S. Korea Navy

Rolls-Royce has reached a milestone in the Republic of Korea Navy’s FFX frigate program, with the successful completion of acceptance tests for the MT30 gas turbine.

News

Continental Resources Names New President after Bott's Quick Exit

Continental Resources Inc, the largest oil producer in North Dakota's Bakken shale formation, promoted Jack Stark to president on Wednesday, less than a week after Rick Bott quit the position.

USCG in Search of Missing Man in Lake Michigan

The Coast Guard is searching for a man who went missing on Lake Michigan, Tuesday. Missing is 48-year-old Joseph Kiehm from Milwaukee. Kiehm was last seen aboard his 26-foot white sailboat,

Environmental Attorney Joins Long Beach Harbor Commission

Environmental attorney and Long Beach resident Tracy Egoscue joined the Long Beach Board of Harbor Commissioners on Tuesday as the first Commissioner appointed by newly elected Mayor Robert Garcia.

Marine Equipment

Seacure Higher Flow-Rate BWTS Certified by BSH

Evoqua inform that the Federal Maritime and Hydrographic Agency of Germany (Bundesamt für Seeschifffahrt und Hydrographie- BSH), which previously granted the Evoqua

TRIYARDS' Liftboat Orderbook Filling up

*This new order brings total liftboat contracts to date to 14, and showcases TRIYARDS’ engineering versatility * Win affirms TRIYARDS' leadership position as

Liebherr Sees Growing Demand for Harbor Cranes in Latin America

Several new deliveries to Latin America; strong 2014 year for Liebherr mobile harbor cranes Liebherr said its mobile harbor crane population in Latin America

 
 
Maritime Careers / Shipboard Positions Maritime Contracts Maritime Security Naval Architecture Pod Propulsion Ship Electronics Ship Simulators Shipbuilding / Vessel Construction Sonar Winch
rss | archive | history | articles | privacy | terms and conditions | contributors | top maritime news | about us | copyright | maritime magazines
maritime security news | shipbuilding news | maritime industry | shipping news | maritime reporting | workboats news | ship design | maritime business

Time taken: 0.1979 sec (5 req/sec)