Government requirements for environmentally acceptable lubricants are relatively simple, but performance properties of products available to the shipping industry can vary widely, according to speakers at a recent online event.
Speakers from several suppliers of biobased base oils and lubricants market shared insights during Marine Maritime Media’s Nov. 23 webinar, “Bio-lubricants for marine vessels and auxiliary equipment: a better return on investment.” They advised ship operators to understand the lubrication needs of their equipment as well as the chemical and performance properties of products on the market before making their selections.
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The U.S. Vessel General Permit policy regulates discharges caused by normal operations of commercial vessels in U.S. territorial waters and the Great Lakes. It includes specific requirements for products used to lubricate stern tubes and other equipment that may be immersed in seawater or that may otherwise come in to direct contact with it, referred to as oil-to-water or oil-to-sea interfaces. Commercial vessels longer than 79 feet must use environmentally acceptable lubricants in all oil-to-sea interfaces, such as controllable pitch propellers, azimuth thrusters and paddle wheel propulsion systems. The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency defined these lubes as biodegradable and minimally-toxic and as not bio-accumulative.