- Keywords: Maritime
The "Vessel General Permit" (VGP) framework, which came into effect in December 2013 stipulates that biologically degradable oils, or "Environmentally Acceptable Lubricants" (EAL), must be used at all oil to sea interfaces, where technically feasible. All ships with a total length of 24 meters or more that enter US waters must observe the new environmental standard.
Numerous components in the underwater area of a ship are impacted by the new rules. This includes the stern tube seal, as well as mechanical components in the propeller, bow thrusters, the rudder shaft, as well as other underwater equipment.
"A number of questions arise here for ship operators," says Dr Jörg Lampe, Risk & Safety, Systems Engineering at DNV GL. "Which lubricants are allowed to be used and are there technical challenges involved in switching to them? For example, the stern tube seal, as the largest connecting piece between propeller and stern of the ship, need not be exchanged before the next planned dry dock as this is not technically feasible."
In order to be able to adhere to the VGP 2013, proper documentation on board is also required. DNV GL is making a Reporting Service available that includes the issuing of an EAL Factual Statement of Compliance in order to fulfil the EAL requirements required of ship operators. "We have received positive feedback from the US EPA agency and the Coast Guard on our new service," Dr Jörg Lampe explains. "Thanks to our global expert network we are also in the position of being able to offer an efficient and reliable service that makes it easier for ship operators to comply with the new regulations and to correctly create the reports due at the end of the year."
Additionally, DNV GL offers consulting services for sealant materials, such as those in older stern tubes still in use, for example.