Castrol’s Liquid Engineers are committed to meeting regulations that preserve our marine environment.
Regulations from MARPOL (International Convention for the Prevention of Pollution from Ships) and IMO (International Maritime Organisation) protect international waters against accidental oil and chemicals spills. New legislation is being formulated to take into account the day-to-day operational discharges of chemicals in the sea, which often take place below the waterline.
More than 5,000 Marine Protected Areas exist worldwide and polar waters are increasingly protected. IMO’s Maritime Safety Committee and Marine Environment Protection Committee have issued guidelines for ships operating in polar waters which state that "Stern tube bearings, seals and main propulsion components located outside the hull should not leak pollutants. Non-toxic, biodegradable lubricants are not considered to be pollutants".
The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) in the USA has published a new version of the Vessel General Permit (VGP), which has been in force since 19th December 2013. From this date, all ‘vessels’ calling in the ‘waters of the United States’ must:
The EPA’s recognition of the impact that lubricant discharges (not accidental spills) have on the marine ecosystem has motivated the change. The 2013 VGP mandates the use of EALs for all applications where lubricants are likely to enter the sea, not mineral oils, as EALs can offer a significantly reduced environmental impact across all applications.
The new legislation will cover most commercial marine vessels over 79 feet in length, regardless of when they were built. There are exceptions, the EPA’s website gives more detail about what is covered and what is not. Most commercial vessels under 79 feet will come under the EPA's small Vessel General Permit (sVGP), when issued. Visit http://water.epa.gov/polwaste/npdes/vessels/Vessel-General-Permit.cfm for more information.
Anywhere within three miles of the US coast, including inland waterways and the Great Lakes.
The EPA defines EALs as lubricants that are biodegradable, minimally toxic and not bioaccumulative. The definition includes products that are labelled under OSPAR, Blue Angel, European Ecolabel, Nordic Swan and Swedish Standard SS 1554701. Products that have one of the labels above will be classified as an EAL or if they meet the criteria set by the EPA for biodegradation, bioaccumulation and toxicity.
Castrol BioStat, BioBar and BioTac product ranges are registered under OSPAR (Oslo and Paris Convention) and meet the US 2013 VGP EAL criteria.
‘Oil-to-sea interfaces’ where EALS must be used include controllable pitch propeller and thruster hydraulic fluids, paddle wheel propulsion, stern tubes, thruster bearings, stabilizers, rudder bearings, azimuth thrusters, propulsion pod lubrication, and wire rope and mechanical equipment subject to immersion. Also covered is any on-deck equipment which has contact with water when at sea (is subject to immersion), as well as lubricants used in two stroke diesel inboard engines that generate wet exhaust.
The permit defines “technically infeasible” as:
If it’s technically infeasible to use an EAL, you must explain the reasons in your record-keeping documentation, and note the use of a non-environmentally acceptable lubricant in your vessel’s Annual Report.
The EPA is relying on vessel operators to self-report EAL use. You must keep records Material Safety Data Sheets (MSDS) on board for all EALs used in oil-to-sea interfaces.
You must also document whether the EALs are registered under a labeling program (e.g. DfE, OSPAR, Ecolabel), and you must record the reason if it is technically infeasible for you to use an EAL.
The US coastguard will carry out spot-checks on vessels to verify compliance. Action taken for non-compliance ranges from written warnings to fines depending on the severity and frequency of non-compliance.
Castrol BioStat, BioBar and BioTac product ranges are registered under OSPAR (Oslo and Paris Convention) and meet the US 2013 VGP criteria for being EALs.
The full text of the permit along with an accompanying fact sheet is available from the EPA website http://water.epa.gov/polwaste/npdes/vessels/Vessel-General-Permit.cfm. The draft VGP is also available on this website.
Reduce your environmental impact. Castrol BioStat is formulated to reduce the environmental impact of operational discharges from stern tube and thruster seals and provide superior protection for gears and bearings. BioStat is also approved by all major seal manufacturers, is OSPAR registered and fully compliant with the US 2013 VGP.
Reduce the environmental impact of using hydraulic systems and hydrostatic transmissions with no downtime on changeover. Castrol BioBar is fully compatible with the same elastomers as mineral oils, and provides high levels of protection to pump and motor components, helping to extend component life and increase reliability. Castrol BioBar is OSPAR registered and fully compliant with the US 2013 VGP.
Helping you to support your environmental agenda and protect your vessels. Find out more about our range of environmentally responsible lubricants.
Castrol BioTac MP is a multi-purpose, environmentally responsible grease that effectively lubricates wire ropes, plain bearings, open gears, marine mooring and cargo winches, ramp door bearings, pedestal bearings, cargo hatch rollers and other slow/medium speed marine deck applications. Castrol BioTac MP is OSPAR registered and fully compliant with the US 2013 VGP.
Developing solutions you can rely on calls for rigorous testing so you can be confident our products can help safeguard the future of the marine environment.
We use our expertise to develop environmentally responsible products that protect the industry’s most precious assets.
Castrol Bio Range products have been created for a range of applications throughout vessels where leakages are a risk or there is an oil to sea interface.