Thordon Bearings COMPAC Seawater Lubricated Propeller Shaft Bearing System Guaranteed for Life

Thordon Bearings is offering its award-winning COMPAC seawater lubricated propeller shaft bearing system with a lifetime bearing wear life guarantee.

To date, the COMPAC bearing has been offered with a 15-year wear life guarantee, but with the development announced at the SMM 2018 trade show in Hamburg, Germany, Thordon, the global leader in seawater lubricated propeller shaft bearings, is guaranteeing that its tough polymer bearings will not need to be replaced throughout a vessel’s operational life.

The extended wear life of a component critical to vessel performance is based on an extensive study of the performance data of the 550-plus COMPAC shaft bearings in operation on commercial vessels, dating back more than 25 years.

Thordon Bearings’ President and CEO, Terry McGowan, said: “After evaluating the performance and operational data of the ocean-going merchant vessels that operate COMPAC seawater lubricated bearings we found that if the environment was controlled – ensuring an adequate supply of clean water consistently delivered to the shaft bearings – the COMPAC bearing wear was minimal. Environmental protection is of course high on the list of priorities for ship owners, but system reliability, reduced operational expenditure and maintenance are other key factors influencing the purchasing decision.”

“We believe our system meets these commercial ship owner priorities, and this is why we are pleased to now offer our COMPAC bearings with a lifetime guarantee. With the announcement today, we are taking the seawater lubricated propeller shaft to the next level.”

The COMPAC bearing is guaranteed to meet Classification Society propeller shaft bearing wear specifications for the lifetime of the vessel or Thordon Bearings will supply new bearings free of charge. According to, the average merchant ship lifespan is 25 years.

The guarantee is subject to prior approval by Thordon Bearings and limited to the supply of replacement bearing(s). All operators of commercial tonnage operating with >300mm diameter shafts can benefit from the guarantee, although the complete COMPAC system must be specified.

This is because when the bearing operates in conjunction with Thordon’s Water Quality Package (that removes abrasives), ThorShield anti corrosion shaft coating, shaft liners and the award-winning SeaThigor forward seal, bearing wear is negligible, providing optimum through life performance from what is already an exceptionally robust bearing.

Commenting on his experience of the COMPAC system installed aboard a number of Princess brand cruiseships, Richard Vie, Carnival Corporation’s former Vice-President, Technical Development and Quality Assurance – Shipbuilding, said: “From a business, environmental and safety standpoint, seawater lubricated shaft line bearings offer the optimum solution.

“Thordon’s products are proven and reliable with an exceptional lifetime, and of course the lubricant – seawater – is limitless and without cost. This substantially reduces the risk of failures compared to other propulsion solutions and therefore increases ship availability and protects its earning potential over its lifetime. Operating costs are minimal. The risk of pollution of the seas through the release of oil or any other lubricants and subsequent fines and adverse publicity is eliminated completely. Ship performance and safety is not likely to be compromised by propulsion system failures thus further strengthening the case for adopting a seawater lubricated shafting solution.”

Capt. Simon Merritt, Senior Fleet Manager at Carisbrooke Shipping, a long-time proponent of the seawater lubricated propeller shaft arrangement, agreed: “We are very satisfied with the Thordon system. We first selected seawater lubrication for environmental reasons, but having operated COMPAC on a number of vessels, we have experienced a reduction in ship operational costs compared to oil lubricated propeller shaft configurations. A lifetime guarantee on the bearing is likely to add to those savings.”

Carisbrooke Shipping’s first COMPAC installation was in 2011 to the 8,651dwt multipurpose dry cargo ship Vectis Eagle. Carisbrooke now operates the COMPAC seawater lubricated propeller shaft arrangement on a total of eight vessels.

“Based on our experience with these bearings in continuous service for the last 6 years we will ensure that future building specs incorporate the Thordon system,” added Capt. Merritt.

Craig Carter, Thordon Bearings’ Director of Marketing and Customer Service, said: “For the global shipping industry to fully support any movement to safeguard the ocean environment, any technological development has to make commercial sense. Shipowners and managers are becoming much more interested in a proven technology that eliminates both operational and accidental stern tube oil pollution while meeting increasingly stringent international environmental regulations. A ‘COMPAC For Life’ takes advantage of this and helps secure our leading position in the seawater lubricated propeller shaft bearing market.”

Current ship owners using COMPAC seawater lubricated propeller shaft bearings include: Lomar Shipping (UK), Grimaldi Group (Italy), Alaska Tanker Company (USA), Princess Cruises (USA), Atlanska Plovibda (Croatia), Groupe Desgagnés (Canada), Carisbrooke Shipping (UK), Crowley Maritime Corp. (USA), CSL Group (Canada), COSCO (China), NY Staten Island Ferries (USA), Tropical Shipping (USA), BC Ferries (Canada), Viking Cruise Lines (UK), Polsteam (Poland), Erik Thun Group (Sweden), Algoma Corp. (Canada), Blue Star Ferries (Greece), and more that 40 Navies worldwide.

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