Maritime Partners opts for Thordon Bearings for 12 new push boats

Written by Nick Blenkey
Thordon Bearings founder with Austin Sperry

Thordon Bearings founder Sandy Thomson (left) with Maritime Partners co-founder and president, Austin Sperry.

Thordon Bearings is to supply water-lubricated and grease-free bearings for installation on a series of 12 twin screw push boats under construction for Maritime Partners LLC. The boats are scheduled to be delivered from Harvey, La., based FMT Shipyard & Repair LLC with equipment that includes Thordon RiverTough tailshaft bearings, ThorPlas-Blue rudder bearings with Pucker Seals, ThorPlas-Blue steering linkage bushings, SXL thrust washers, and TG100 tailshaft seals.

With a fleet of over 1,600 inland waterways vessels, Maritime Partners is the largest lessor of marine equipment in the United States.

The new vessels, however, will be the company’s first newbuilds to feature a complete portfolio of Thordon technology following the success of individual installations aboard existing tonnage.

Thordon’s RiverTough tailshaft system which includes includes RiverTough tailshaft bearings, ThorPlas-Blue rudder bearings with Pucker Seals, ThorPlas-Blue steering linkage bushings, SXL thrust washers, and TG100 tailshaft seals.

“As a leading provider of maritime assets and a founding member of the BlueSky Maritime Coalition, we have a commitment to and a responsibility for environmentally-sustainable maritime operation,” said Maritime Partners’ co-founder and president, Austin Sperry. “The application of technical solutions that deliver absolutely zero environmental risk is a no-brainer for us.”

“We went through the specification and Austin said he wanted everything Thordon had,” said David DiSalvo, the owner of DiSalvo Marine, the independent contractor for Thordon Bearings that secured the deal. “He wrote ‘Thordon’ alongside the rudder bearings, the shaft bearings, the steering bushings, and the seals. Every time we got to a component that Thordon produced, he scratched out what was already in the spec and wrote Thordon.”

Maritime Partners operates not only one of the largest but one if the most modern, youngest, and environmentally efficient fleets operating on the U.S .inland river network.

“Maritime Partners has optimized its boat charter business by opting for two different engine packages on these new fleet boats.” said DiSalvo. “Both engine options meet the latest US EPA requirements. As a result, the new Entech-designed boats utilize the maximum horsepower rating without having to use Tier IV engines with exhaust after-treatment systems, which benefits charterers as it reduces operating costs.

“Now with the addition of the Thordon products, the company has upped its game with environmentally friendly vessels that will offer longevity and low maintenance that its customers will also value for many years.”

While environmental considerations and the reduced OPEX associated with Thordon equipment were obvious deal makers, the determining factor came when Austin Sperry met Thordon Bearings’ founder, George “Sandy” Thomson and discovered they had something in common.

Austin Sperry is a direct descendant of Elmer Sperry, inventor of the gyro compass. In 2019 Sandy Thomson was the recipient of an award given in the name of his great, great grandfather, SNAME’s prestigious Elmer. A. Sperry Award for Advancing the Art of Transportation.

Thordon Bearings’ territory sales manager, Jim Bright, said: “It is fantastic to see this real, physical connection between the maritime industry, Elmer Sperry and the spirit of the award. When Austin met Sandy, it was a meeting of minds. They share the same environmental vision. They both recognize the role maritime industries have to play in finding tangible, meaningful solutions to the climate change problem.”

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