China Classification Society’s (CCS) new monitoring rules favour seawater lubricated propellers over oil-based systems, according to the Canada-based Thordon Bearings.
The class society’s revised rules in July 2015 stated that specific shaft condition and monitoring protocols have to be met annually to obtain the extended period before shaft withdrawal. Thus, the new rulings seem to favour shipowners using seawater lubricated propellers, by boosting inspections requiring shaft withdrawal to every 15 years from the previous 5 years, providing certain monitoring conditions are met.
“We expect the revision will be highly welcomed by those shipowners looking to comply with the stringent US Environmental Protection Agency vessel general permit (VGP) regulations that are now in force to impose strict limits on operational oil discharges for vessels operating in US coastal waters and the Great Lakes,” said Andy Edwards, commercial director at Thordon Bearings.
The bearings solution company describes the new changes as “significant breakthrough” for manufacturers of seawater-lubricated shaft bearing systems, due to the expected increase of adoption by the maritime community.
“With classification societies now changing their shaft condition monitoring rules in view of the technological advancements we have made over recent years, we expect more shipowners will see merit in converting from oil to seawater-lubricated systems,” said Craig Carter, head of marketing and customer service of Thordon Bearings.
In the meantime, other classification societies like Lloyd’s Register and Bureau Veritas have subsequently updated their shaft rules in 2013 and 2014 respectively, while Norway-headquartered DNV GL is reportedly to publish new shaft rules in 2016.