Recently delivered to L&L Marine Transportation, Harvey, La., by Rodriguez Shipbuilding Inc., Bayou La Batre, Ala., the 1,600 hp towboat Amelia Ray is now operational with a full range of Thordon oil-free and grease-free bearings.
The 65-foot newbuild is the first vessel in the L&L Marine fleet to be specified with a Thordon propulsion package at the vessel design stage.
The decision to select Thordon’s RiverTough tailshaft bearings, shaft liners, TG100 seals, ThorPlas-Blue rudder bearings, ThorPlas-Blue Self Aligning Bearings (SAB), and SXL thrust washers for the newbuild follows the success of earlier retrofits across the owner’s fleet.
L&L Marine owner Lee LeBoeuf says that all his company’s five vessels now operate with only Thordon bearings due to the “significant operational savings” experienced with the earlier installations.
“We initially replaced all our rubber tailshaft bearings with Thordon’s RiverTough bearings and shaft liners and found we were able to extend drydocking intervals from three to eight years,” he says. “We then started retrofitting ThorPlas-Blue bearings in the rudder stocks and installing TG100 seals, which reduced operational costs even further as there is less vessel down time and maintenance. This means we are more attractive to our customers, more dependable, and more reliable. We can better plan drydock schedules in line with the operational needs of our customers.”
“L&L Marine, a longtime customer for Thordon Bearings, has a small fleet of workboats which means that the financial risks are higher if a vessel has to come out of service for repair work,” says Thordon sales manager Jim Bright. “Lee tells me that the switch to Thordon bearings and seals has not only mitigated these risks but helped facilitate improvements to the bottom line.”
SELF ALIGNING BEARINGS
“The tiller arms of the steering system on this new vessel were also fitted with Thordon’s SAB on both the live end of the steering cylinder and the jockey bar,” notes Bright. “The SAB, made from ThorPlas-Blue polymer material, is not only self-aligning, but it also provides grease-free operation. This allows the tillers to operate with independent suspension. As the rudder works there is no binding of the jockey bar which would typically result in increased stress and wear on the bushings, resulting in reduced maintenance and associated costs.”
LeBoeuf says that, while the capital expenditure is more than for a conventional tailshaft/propulsion bearing system, the Thordon application aboard Amelia Ray is expected to result in annual operational savings of $15,000.
“Compared to conventional propulsion and tailshaft bearings, which require regular maintenance, replacement and frequent drydocking, the Thordon system results in threefold reduction in operational costs,” he says.
Designed by Entech, Amelia Ray is a twin-screw towboat purpose-built for the transportation of petrochemicals.
The Subchapter M compliant vessel is powered by a pair of Mitsubishi S6R2 diesel engines driving Kahlenberg screws through Twin Disc MGX5321 reduction gears. Two 60kW Cummins generators provide power to amongst other consumers a Hydra Force electric-over-hydraulic steering system.
Starting to work without the usual fully-fledged christening because of coronavirus restrictions, Amelia Ray, named after the owner’s four-year-old granddaughter, is currently running petrochemical products along the Mississippi between Houston, Texas, and Baton Rouge, La.
L&L Marine has an option to build an additional vessel at Rodriquez Shipbuilding, but “we will wait to see how COVID-19 plays out before making the decision,” says LeBoeuf.