Thordon Bearings has advised its customers with newbuilds under construction to make sure they have the necessary documentation in place permitting operations in US waters prior to December 18th, 2018.
The advice follows the October 10th announcement by the US Environmental Protection Agency that the 2013 Vessel General Permit, due to expire in December 2018, will now be administratively continued till at least March 2019, when an updated version, VGP 3.0, will be introduced.
“The delay in introducing VGP 3.0 means that operators of existing vessels looking to operate in US waters for the first time, or newbuilds with a keel laid after 18th of December 2018, must file a Notice of Intent (NOI) before this date if they are to be covered by the existing VGP 2.0,” said Jeffrey Butt, Thordon Bearings’ Business Development Manager – Marine.
Currently, more than 61,000 US-flagged commercial vessels and some 8000 foreign flagged vessels require a Vessel General Permit to safeguard US waters against operational oil pollution from oil-to-sea interfaces.
“Shipowners operating our COMPAC seawater-lubricated propeller shaft bearings will never be flagged for stentube-related oil pollution, but a VGP remains a legal requirement. A significant number of our customers have newbuilds nearing completion and they will need to submit their NOIs to the EPA soonest if they are to operate in US waters. There is not much time,” said Butt.
Recent owners operating Thordon’s COMPAC water-lubricated propeller shaft bearings include Matson, Tropical Shipping, Lomar, MSC Cruises, Alaskan Ferries, Polsteam, and Groupe Desgagnés.
The EPA stipulates that all US-operating vessels must use an approved Environmentally Acceptable Lubricant in all oil-to-sea interfaces and has singled out water, in particular, as the optimum sterntube lubrication solution for eliminating the discharge of oil to the marine environment.
Thordon Bearings representatives are available to advise shipowners how water-lubricated bearing systems can guarantee compliance with current and anticipated Vessel General Permit requirements.