Every drop in the ocean counts

March 16, 2018

Dubai, 7 March 2018

101 delegates from the Middle East maritime community attended a captivating IMarEST UAE branch seminar presented by RSC Bio Solutions addressing the EPA requirements in the revised VGP for Environmentally Acceptable Lubricants. The message was clear – Ensuring compliance is not enough, performance equally matters.

In the opening Introduction, Nikeel Idnani (Honorary Secretary IMarEST UAE branch) explained the US Environmental Protection Agency’s Vessel General Permit which regulates discharges from commercial ships to protect the nation’s water from ship-borne pollutants. As such, Environmentally Acceptable Lubricants must be used onboard in any oil-to-sea interface. He candidly admitted that it was a tall order considering the challenge for each shipowner trading in US waters will be to consider which lubricants on board its vessels shall be changed to EALs and when, or alternatively to decide not to do so as this is deemed ‘technically infeasible’.

Dr. Larry G. Beaver (VP R&D, RSC Bio Solutions, USA) & Mr. Ian Nielsen (Marketing Manager, RSC Bio Solutions, USA) broke the genre mold with their team presentation of ‘FUTERRA – An EAL with a difference’. At the onset Larry explained what is and what is not an EAL, identifying that not all EAL are created equal. They assured the audience that meeting the VGP requirements is technically feasible by utilizing RSC Bio Solutions series of readily biodegradable lubricants which comply with the 2013 EPA VGP, are non-sheening and are biodegradable by 60% within 28 days causing negligible impact to the marine environment.  Ian stressed that while regulatory compliance is important, ships also need lubricants that meet with onboard equipment’s harsh performance demands. He went into details of the FUTERRA HF Series renewable hydrocarbon hydraulic fluids which are Ecolabel certified and formulated to withstand extreme conditions and corrosion while operating in severe environments. Typical applications include stern tubes, controllable pitch propellers, stabilizers and various deck equipment.

Larry then explained EnviroLogic GO Series readily biodegradable synthetic gear oils which are formulated for harsh marine applications. Thrusters, controllable pitch propellers and ancillary equipment are some of the typical applications that use gear oils. Similarly, EnviroLogic Grease 0 biodegradable Lithium Complex grease is designed for multi-purpose use in harsh marine applications, including RO/RO ramp latches, steering gear and centralized pump systems with extended distances.

Larry touched upon the requirement of an EAL to be ‘minimally toxic’. That evoked an off the wall question from a delegate regarding the effect on aquatic life if an EAL leaked into the sea. Larry responded with tongue in cheek – “I cant speak for the fish”.

Larry emphasized that besides regulatory drivers, sustainability of the environment e.g. voluntary ISO14001 certification as well as creating a competitive commercial edge and reduced port fees prompts smart ship operators to use hydraulic fluids that offer extreme durability, maximum compatibility, broadest regulatory compliance and environmental risk reduction.

The speakers unreservedly let their passion for the subject shine through. They were honest with the audience about what was important to them and why it mattered, connecting wholeheartedly with everyone present. With numerous questions and comments from the floor, it was evident that the delegates were very appreciative of the information.The pleasant evening culminated with cocktails and dinner at the rooftop poolside of the Hotel Ramada Jumeirah. 

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