Chinese shipyards have expressed a greater level of willingness to incorporate water-lubricated propeller shaft systems into shipbuilding design blueprints, as they embrace this alternative to the conventional oil lubricated system.
Thordon Bearings director Craig Carter observed that Chinese yards are eager to step up their game in offering different solutions and they want to stay competitive against their regional rival yards in Korea and Japan.
“The message is on educating the yards on the advantages of water lubricated system,” Mr Carter told Singapore Solutions.
Mr Carter said some of the main advantages of using a water lubricated system is a reduction in operational cost, zero environmental impact, and compliance with all legislations and pollution regulations.
“But the water lubricated system is 15-20% more expensive compared to the oil lubricated system,” he admitted. However, the payback time can be as short as three years depending on the scale of the system, he added.
Thordon recently won an order from Cosco Dalian Shipyard to install its 600 mm diameter COMPAC propeller shaft bearings, Thordon’s water quality packages (WQP), ThorShield shaft coatings and bronze shaft liners to three 62,000 DWT multipurpose vessels currently under construction.
Mr Carter said the WQP is able to remove abrasives and deliver constant water flow to both the forward seal and all bearings.
The ThorShield shaft coating acts to prevent corrosion under the saltwater environment of seawater.
Shanghai Shipyard has installed the water lubricated bearing system to 15 newbuilds to date.
In November, Guangzhou Wenchong Shipyard installed the COMPAC system to two newbuild container ships under construction for Tropical Shipping. This week the first of two 2,700 TEU container vessels with COMPAC, also being built at Guangzhou Wenchong Shipyard, is undergoing sea trials for a UK-based owner.
Thordon’s regional manager Sam Williams commented “There can be teething problems when a shipyard diverts from its standard offering but the application to Guangzhou Wenchong’s first COMPAC ship was a textbook installation.”
Mr Carter said “China’s ongoing commitment to reducing pollution across a number of industries is indicative in the work Chinese shipbuilders are doing to environmentally future-proof their newbuildings. Chinese shipyards have been quick to understand the benefits of a COMPAC installation.