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Specialised ship lubricants 'needed' for slow steaming, green laws

SLOW steaming requires specific performance lubricants, while cleaner fuels require specific detergents and lower basicity lubricants, says the Hamburg company Lubmarine that provides them.

Specialised ship lubricants 'needed' for slow steaming, green laws
01 May 2011 - 22:52


SLOW steaming requires specific performance lubricants, while cleaner fuels require specific detergents and lower basicity lubricants, says the Hamburg company Lubmarine that provides them.

As shipping turns to slow steaming to reduce costs in the face of increased emissions' controls, the challenge of procuring marine lubricants has taken on greater complexity and significance, says a Lubmarine company statement.

"The North American Emissions Control Area (ECA), effective from 2012, will impact 50 per cent of maritime traffic, forcing shipowners and operators not typically operating in ECAs to begin use of lower basicity cylinder lubricants required for lower sulphur fuels. This increasing trend is likely to pose challenges for shipowners and operators when leaving ECAs as lower base number (BN) lubricants are not best suited to operation with higher sulphur fuels permissible for use outside ECAs," said the company statement.

"With rising bunker prices and growing charterer pressure to reduce costs, slow steaming looks set to stay. Most container vessels have cut cruising speeds from 22-25 knots to 18-20 knots, but in the case of extra slow steaming, to as low as 8-12 knots, which significantly increases stresses and strains on a two or four stroke marine engine," said the statement.

Said Total Lubmarine marketing manager Patrick Havil: "We know that ship operators are under pressure to deliver against current and impending Sulphur Oxide (SOx) and Nitrogen Oxide (NOx) regulations, reduce bunker fuel costs through slow steaming. At the same time they need to maintain a clear competitive advantage. Faced with this, the industry needs a new generation of marine lubricants that not only offer significant cost savings and better performance, but are also compatible with different levels of sulphur and the demand for slow steaming."

Total Lubmarine provides the shipping industry with marine lubricants and greases. Its local teams can deliver lubricants in more than 1,000 ports, said the statement.

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