The US Environmental Protection Agency’s 2013 Vessel General Permit requires that all vessels must adhere to a number of environmental requirements, which often stipulate the use of particular types of products.
This applies not only to ballast-water systems and various types of underwater hull arrangements, but also acceptable lubricant in all oil-to-sea interfaces on board a ship.
Shipowners and shipmanagers will have to know whether the products that are approved in ports outside the US are valid permitted products that can be used on board vessels when they enter the US.
This includes all the hydraulic oils and lubrication oils found in controllable pitch propellers, thrusters, stabilisers, stern tubes, rudder bearings, azimuth thrusters and propulsion pod lubrication.
The rule states that such oils and lubricants should be used unless technically feasible.
In the case of the EPA rules, this is if there is no such product on the market or approved by manufacturers to meet those equipment specifications; if the lubricant comes within the equipment as, for example, underwater wires may be pre-lubricated; or if a port does not sell such an environmental product.
The rules, as with other parts of the regulations, will be good news for some lubrication manufacturers that have already been developing such environmental products.
Peter Vickers, chairman of family-owned Vickers Oil in the UK , says the company has put products forward to gain confirmation that they meet the US requirements, as even the manufacturers need to be aware which products are valid and which are not.