After the first ever propeller shaft arrangement that is lubricated by water for two 5000 unit pure cart/truck carriers being specified by China Ocean Shipping Company (COSCO) in 2007, a lot of ship owners and shipbuilders in China are leaving behind the usage of propeller shafts that are lubricated by oil and greased rudder bearing systems in order to support the commitment of their country to be sustainable environmentally.
Thordon Bearings’ COMPAC seawater lubricated propeller shaft bearing systems have been installed by COSCO on approximately 70 vessels which comprise heavy lift ships, bulk carriers, semi-submersibles and RoPax ferries along with other shipowners taking the example of COSCO.
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Water lubricated shaft line design is also being supported by China Oilfield Services (COSL) and China National Offshore Oil Corporation (CNOOC).
“The ‘greening of the maritime silk road’, which forms part of China’s broader Belt and Road Initiative to clean up its infrastructure with tighter regulations and controls, is resulting in more of the country’s owners and builders going green to remain competitive,” said Alex Li, Managing Director, CY Engineering, a technical services company and Thordon’s authorised distributor in China.
“Thordon’s COMPAC system is one of a number of environmentally sustainable solutions they are adopting to meet President Xi’s objective of a zero-emission China-flagged fleet becoming a reality by 2030.”
According to Li, some 40 shipyards now have “excellent experience” with COMPAC water lubricated bearings, including the Hudong Shipyard, Jiangnan Shipyard, Shanghai Waigaogiao Shipbuilding, COSCO Dalian Shipyard, Guangzhou Wenchong Shipyard, Guangzhou Shipyard International, Huangpu Shipyard, and YJZ Shipyard.
“Following the engineering and technical services we have provided over the course of the past ten years, Chinese shipyards are now well ahead of the curve compared to other shipbuilders in the region,” said Li.
“The experience they have in installing and commissioning Thordon’s COMPAC and SXL bearings provides a competitive and technical advantage that will no doubt be enhanced as more shipowners follow the clean shipping route.”
Presently, CY Engineering is working with the YZJ Shipyard for the installation of a COMPAC seawater lubricated propeller shaft bearing system to a 31,200dwt bulk carrier operated Great Lakes.
Sam Williams, Thordon’s Regional Manager for Asia, said: “China’s capacity to build competitively priced tonnage has ensured it has remained the world’s leading shipbuilding nation even in periods of recession. This new commitment to delivering ships with environmentally-sustainable technologies means it will continue to do so.
“Despite annually delivering more than 30% of the world’s newbuilds, the role Chinese shipyards will have in ‘greening’ global trade is undervalued. Certainly, they know if they are unable to keep pace with international demands for more environmentally efficient tonnage, then they risk losing the top spot.”
Williams then mentioned that the rising specifications by China for quality products that are manufactured by European and North American Original Equipment Manufacturers shows the development in shipbuilding of China.
“We have seen a hike in orders from Chinese yards across our product range. There is definitely an emergent preference for quality, sustainable systems produced outside of China.”
Till now, COMPAC and SXL water lubricated propeller shaft bearings have been installed on more than 130 Chinese-newbuild vessels, 85 of them are for domestic owners. SLX rudder bearings have been installed on over 1000 vessels that have been built in China and about one quarter of these approximately one quarter of those installations have been ships operated by Chinese owners.
A variety of eco friendly safe seal and bearing technologies will be presented by Thordon Bearings and CY Engineering at Booth N2E7A at Marintec 2019 which will take place in Shanghai, China, between 3rd and 6th of December.