Thordon Bearings and Drydocks World team up to convert ships to seawater lubricated shaft lines

Thordon Bearings and Drydocks World-Dubai (DDW-D) have today signed a milestone agreement under which the UAE-based shipyard will work together with Thordon Bearings Inc. to promote the conversion of ships’ oil lubricated propeller shafts to Thordon’s COMPAC open seawater lubricated bearing system. The agreement will create an action plan in which a specialist team, comprised of Drydocks World-Dubai and Thordon Bearings’ personnel, offer support to ship managers and owners looking to ensure their vessels are fully compliant with environmental legislation prohibiting the discharge of oil from the oil-to-sea interface of ships’ propeller shafts. Shipowners could face substantial financial penalties if their vessels are found to be non-compliant.

Mohammad Rizal, COO of Drydocks World-Dubai, said: “Thordon Bearings is a pioneer in water lubricated propeller shaft bearings, with over 35 years’ of experience in this technology. By entering into this partnership, we will not only have an opportunity to expand our service offering, but will also have the opportunity to provide our customers with a real, long-term solution to the environmental problems they face with oil lubricated stern tube bearings and seals. With concerns increasingly being raised about the impact oil discharges have on the marine environment, converting an oil lubricated system to seawater is the only guaranteed solution for today and tomorrow.”

Terry McGowan, President and CEO of Thordon Bearings said: “Drydocks World-Dubai is an internationally renowned shipyard with the capabilities and state-of-the-art facilities required to carry out some of the world’s most specialised ship and rig repair, maintenance and conversion projects. Having the advantage of offering comprehensive, engineered solutions in partnership with an experienced bearing manufacturer will help further strengthen Drydock World’s position as one of the world’s leading shiprepair yards.”

Leaking shaft seals are known to be a significant contributor to on-going pollution at sea. The use of biodegradable lubricants, which are an improvement over mineral oils, are still a very expensive option for shipowners and some are having seal compatibility issues. Even biodegradable lubricants still need to be reported to authorities when discharges occur. Thordon provides a solution that uses seawater as the lubricant that meets all regulations, eliminating any risk of oil pollution.

“Seawater lubricated propeller shaft bearing systems are less complicated and time-consuming to install than oil lubricated systems, providing clear commercial advantages for the customers,” said McGowan. “There are fewer components, fewer pipe-runs and no air equipment is required with a seawater lubricated system. Plus, with recent class society rule changes, seawater lubricated propeller shaft bearing systems no longer have a pre-determined shaft withdrawals as long as certain monitoring conditions are met”
He added: “This new partnership agreement provides a win-win situation for both parties. DDW-D will stand to benefit from having new customers and a new revenue stream with oil-to-water conversions, while Thordon Bearings will benefit from supplying the COMPAC seawater lubricated bearing equipment for upcoming conversion projects.”

Under the terms of the agreement, Thordon Bearings will also provide equipment, training and guidance to Drydocks World-Dubai personnel and support the yard in carrying out propeller shaft conversion projects to the “highest standards and in the most efficient and cost effective manner”.