07 September 2017

Marine Engineers Envision All Cargo and Other Vessels Using Oil Free Bearings  

Water Lubrication is an Older Technology Than You May Think

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Shipping News Feature UK – WORLDWIDE – To many an engineer the idea of a water lubricated bearing is, to say the least, counter intuitive. Add in the harsh realities of life at sea, where aboard cargo and other vessels a constant battle against the corrosive properties of salt water is endlessly waged and the proposition seems even more unlikely. It is against this backdrop that shipping industry leaders attending London International Shipping Week 2017 (LISW) will be able to hear the case for water lubricated propeller shafts during an evening technical lecture organised by the Institute of Marine Engineering, Science & Technology (IMarEST).

Taking place on Wednesday September 13 at the IMarEST’s London HQ, Thordon Bearings regional manager George Morrison, a chartered marine engineer with 23-years’ experience, will present a paper calling for full acceptance of water lubricated propulsion across the global shipping industry.

History in fact may be on George Morrison’s side, outlining how water lubricated propeller shafts have been used since the earliest days of shaft driven propellers, Morrison’s paper ‘Water Lubricated Propulsion – A Case for Full Acceptance’ will explore the pros and cons of current shaft lubricating methods. It will propose the most environmentally sustainable, cost-effective solutions available and also highlight a myriad of on board applications for grease-free bearings, such as deck winches, lifeboat davits and cargo cranes.

Countless stories in this and other publications have highlighted the pollution caused, unwittingly, and unfortunately too often deliberately, by lubricating and fuel oils being discharged into the ocean. Morrison points out:

“The introduction of new pollution regulations has led to a return to seawater lubricated propeller shaft bearing systems, especially for those vessels trading in US or Polar waters, where the discharge of oil from any oil-to-sea interface in quantities that may be harmful to the environment is restricted. The IMarEST Technical Lecture during LISW provides an excellent opportunity to explain how new technology for polymer bearings, shafting materials and system packages not only increase bearing wear life and reduce ship maintenance costs, but can also keep our oceans clean.”

According to Morrsion, when seawater lubricated propeller shaft lines are used rather than oil lubricated shafts or pods, operating costs are reduced substantially over the life of the vessel as there is no AFT seal, no lubricating oil, no storage of oil, no sampling of oil and no disposal of oil. Additionally, there are no costly seal repairs that can cost as much as $300,000 per aft shaft seal. David Loosley, Chief Executive, IMarEST, commented:

“The IMarEST’s overarching vision is one of a world where marine resources and activities are sustained, managed and developed for the benefit of humanity. The Institute is always in full support of those seeking to find the most environmentally sound solutions for activities that may impact the marine environment and water lubricated propulsion is one such solution that calls for consideration.”

The lecture will take place at 17.30 on Wednesday 13th September but for those that are unable to attend it will be streamed live on IMarEST TV. You can register to view the lecture on-line by clicking here.

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