Long service from water-lubricated bearings

26 Apr 2011
Grand Princess port strut with rope guard intact for easy bearing access

Grand Princess port strut with rope guard intact for easy bearing access

Thordon Bearings of Canada reports that the seawater lubricated propeller shaft bearings fitted to the cruise ship Grand Princess have now achieved 13 years of pollution-free performance with no shaft withdrawals.

In May 1998, the then world’s largest cruise ship entered service, fitted with seawater lubricated propeller shaft bearings. The decision to fit this type of bearing, at the time not a usual solution, was because Princess Cruises/P&O, in conjunction with builder, Fincantieri, could identify few drydocks able to take a vessel of this size. Any unscheduled drydocking to repair a stern tube seal leaking oil could result in substantial financial losses, pollution risks and long transit to and from a suitably sized drydock.

In April 2011, Grand Princess completed a scheduled drydocking at Grand Bahamas Shipyard for extensive upgrades and modifications. Bearing clearances in the original Thordon Compac strut and stern tube bearings were checked and indicated that the bearing wear was well within acceptable limits. Thordon points out that the bearing design allows for removal, inspection and reinstallation with the shaft still in place, which represents a significant cost saving. The two propeller shafts have not been withdrawn since their original installation.  

Carnival now has 14 cruise ships in service fitted with Thordon Compac seawater lubricated bearings, and two more on order.

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