Don’t Forget: Seawater is a Free EAL

By Maritime Reporter & Engineering News
Wednesday, December 11, 2013
Typical netting and rope around rotating shaft damages aft seal.

If your vessel is trading in U.S. waters, you need to be aware of the new oil to sea interface law that comes into effect on Dec. 19, 2013.  According to the new U.S. Environment Protection Agency Vessel General Permit (VGP), all vessels built on or after Dec. 19, 2013, must use an environmentally acceptable lubricant (EAL) in all oil to sea interfaces.  For all vessels built before this date, unless technically not feasible, ship owners must use an EAL in all oil to sea interfaces. Additional information on the EPA’s VGP can be found at http://cfpub.epa.gov/npdes/vessels/vgpermit.cfm#final.
Most ships use mineral oil to lubricate the propeller shaft, and the oil is contained in the stern tube by the aft seal – which is the oil to sea interface. In most cases, you cannot simply replace the mineral oil with seawater or other oil-based EAL’s. Oil-based EALs need to be compatible with the sealing materials to ensure leakage is controlled – shipowners will need to check with their seal supplier and it may be necessary to upgrade the sealing rings or upgrade to a new seal. Typically, costs of oil-based EAL’s are 3-5 times more expensive than mineral oils. If you are using an air seal, you are still required to use an oil-based EAL, as it is not possible to guarantee that oil leakage will never occur.
Still a concern for ship owners is that oil-based EALs are still considered a pollutant under the Oil Pollution Act of 1990 (OPA 90) and U.S. Clean Water Act (if there is a sheen). Any discharges of oil-based EALs still require reporting of the discharge to the U.S. Coast Guard, as well as having clean-up and remediation costs. Even though biodegradable lubricants may be deemed non-toxic by OECD testing, their presence on the water surface is a threat to seabirds.
For newbuildings, some ship owners are specifying seawater lubricated propeller shaft bearing systems, as more than 600 commercial ships are using a seawater-lubricated system that uses no oil – meaning full compliance with the VGP. (Some shipowners such as Princess Cruises, COSCO, Disney Cruise Lines, U.S. Gypsum Corp., CSL Group, Algoma Corp., Flinter Group, ConocoPhillips, Carisbrooke Shipping and Staten Island Ferries have chosen to use seawater as the propeller shaft lubricant.)
Currently, the U.S. EPA recommends that all newbuild vessel operators endeavor to use seawater-based systems for their stern tube lubrication to eliminate the discharge of oil from these interfaces to the aquatic environment.
Existing ships can be converted to seawater-lubricated propeller shaft systems as these systems typically fit in the same space as an oil lubricated system. The oil-to-seawter conversion is accomplished during a planned drydock where corrosion resistant shaft liners and a water lubricated forward seal were pre-ordered and the shaft and non-metallic bearings were ready for install when the ship drydocked.
So when it comes to discharges from a ships propeller shaft system, the shipowner that trades in U.S. waters has two choices for their existing ships and ships they plan to build: 1) replace mineral oil with an oil-based EAL to lubricate the metal bearings and ensure the seal is compatible with the EAL, or 2) convert or build a ship using a seawater-based system using non-metallic prop shaft bearings.      

By Craig D. Carter, MBA, Director of Marketing and Customer Service at Thordon Bearings Inc.

(As published in the November 2013 edition of Maritime Reporter & Engineering News - www.marinelink.com)

Maritime Reporter March 2015 Digital Edition
FREE Maritime Reporter Subscription
Latest Maritime News    rss feeds

Environmental

USCG Flush Ice down River Systems to Facilitate Shipping

The Coast Guard cutter fleet is flushing ice through the Great Lakes river systems to prevent ice jams and facilitate commercial shipping as the shipping season

Chile Desert Rains Sign of Climate Change

The heavy rainfall that battered Chile's usually arid north this week happened because of climate change, a senior meteorologist said, as the region gradually

Mexico Unveils National Strategy ahead of Paris Climate Talks

Mexico on Friday said it will cap its greenhouse gas emissions by 2026, becoming one of the first countries to formally submit its national climate plan the

Fuels & Lubes

USA Urged Not to Delay Arctic Drilling

The U.S. should immediately begin a push to exploit its enormous trove of oil in the Arctic waters off of Alaska, or risk a renewed reliance on imported oil in the future, reports AP.

EALs & Oil Spill Remediation

EALs & Oil Spill Remediation: The Effects of EALs on Oil Spill and Discharge Reporting and Remediation In the wake of increased environmental scrutiny and potentially expanding liability issues,

Big Spending on Liquefaction Terminals

Capital expenditure (Capex) on global liquefied natural gas (LNG) facilities is expected to total $259 billion over the forecast period 2015-2019, according to

Marine Equipment

Scandlines Ferry Back in Service by End June

The damaged Scandlines ferry M/V Prinsesse Benedikte is being repaired at the Polish shipyard Remontowa and is expected to be ready before the end of June 2015.

US Navy to Roll out Underwater Spy Satellites

The robotic series that remade crusade in skies will shortly extend to a low sea, with underwater view “satellites,” drone-launching pods on a sea building and unmanned ships sport submarines,

Viking Bags Charter Deal for AHTS Brage Viking

Viking Supply Ships has entered into a contract with an Oil major for the charter of “Brage Viking” commencing 1stof April 2015. The duration is for 2 years and 8 months firm,

Vessels

Gulf Bridge Express Service to End

The Gulf Bridge Express Service will shortly be terminated with the last roundtrip voyage being MV Saint Nikolaos voyage 00008S, ETA New Orleans on April 22, 2015.

Obangame Express 2015 Concludes in the Gulf of Guinea

Maritime forces from Gulf of Guinea nations, Europe, South America, and the United States and several regional and international organizations concluded the multinational maritime exercise,

Scandlines Ferry Back in Service by End June

The damaged Scandlines ferry M/V Prinsesse Benedikte is being repaired at the Polish shipyard Remontowa and is expected to be ready before the end of June 2015.

 
 
Maritime Careers / Shipboard Positions Maritime Contracts Navigation Offshore Oil Pod Propulsion Salvage Ship Electronics Ship Repair 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: 0.1973 sec (5 req/sec)