X-Press Feeders moves to water lubricated propeller shaft system

X-Press Feeders moves to water lubricated propeller shaft system
Thordon’s COMPAC propeller shaft bearing installed with the Bearing Condition Monitoring System. Image courtesy of Thordon Bearings.

Two Super Eco 2700 containerships being built for Singapore-headquartered X-Press Feeders will be launched with complete water lubricated propeller shaft arrangements supplied by Thordon Bearings.

The ships are being built by China’s Zhoushan Changhong Shipyard.

CY Engineering, Thordon’s distributor in China, has now completed the installation and commissioning of the Thordon scope of supply aboard X-Press Mekong (Hull Number CHB085) and X-Press Pearl (Hull Number CHB084).

Both MARIC-designed, DNV GL-classed vessels feature Thordon’s COMPAC propeller shaft bearings, bronze shaft liners, a Water Quality Package, ThorShield shaft protection coating and the company’s proprietary bearing condition monitoring system (BCM).

Due for delivery later this year, the vessels were ordered in 2018 with options for an additional two plus two.

Sam Williams, Thordon Bearings’ regional manager for Asia and Greece said that X-Press Feeders, which has a fleet of more than 110 Panamax vessels, specified the Thordon system after operating a COMPAC-installed vessel acquired two years ago under a Sale & Purchase agreement.

“Based on their experience with the system installed aboard the 2018-built X-Press Kabru [formerly Washington Trader], which is based on the same Super Eco 2700 design, the owner specifically wanted the arrangement for its newbuilds. This is a testament not only to the success of the MARIC design, but also to the environmental performance and cost-saving benefits of a water lubricated system,” said Mr Williams.

Reportedly, a key factor in the shipowner’s decision to specify the arrangement was to further enhance a design already optimised for “clean shipping”.

“With a hull form designed for maximum fuel-efficiency and reduced emissions, the move away from an oil-lubricated shaft to a more environmentally acceptable solution was a significant motivation. The experience the owner had with X-Press Kabru proved the COMPAC system’s operational and environmental performance but also showed that long-term operational savings can be achieved with water lubricated tailshaft bearings. A very cost-effective alternative.”

X-Press Mekong and X-Press Pearl are the 4th and 5th ships to be built based on the Super Eco 2700 design to use Thordon’s proven water lubricated system.

All the vessels in this series have been designed to meet DNV GL’s stringent tailshaft monitoring notation TMON, which means a water-lubricated shaft has the same extended shaft withdrawal inspection periods as an oil-lubricated system.

Terry McGowan, president and chief executive officer, Thordon Bearings, said: “X-Press Feeders has a clearly defined set of environmental sustainability standards, so we are delighted it has incorporated COMPAC into the design and build of these super eco-friendly newbuilds. The first COMPAC newbuilds in the X-Press fleet is a further indication of the container shipping segment’s commitment to improving the ocean environment.”