Canadian manufacturer Thordon Bearings confirmed it has secured contracts to supply 24 TG100 propeller shaft seals to Drydocks World-Dubai and Abu Dhabi Shipbuilding and Repair yards for installation to six UAE Navy vessels. Each quad screw ship will operate a quartet of TG100 shaft seals.

Rafid Qureshi, managing director of Dubai-based Ocean Power International (OPI), Thordon’s authorized distributor in the region, explained the award win was “a direct result of the yards’ recommendations” following the success of TG100s retrofitted seven years ago to a 28m [91.9ft] tug.

The government-operated tug entered Drydocks World-Dubai yard in late 2014 after a competitor’s shaft seal failed during dredger support operations in the Persian Gulf.

“The tug was taking on water but because the seal didn’t have an emergency return-to-port function, it had a real tough time getting back safely,” Qureshi said. “The failure was of huge concern to the owner as it could have ended in tragedy. Apparently, failure is not uncommon with these seals.”

Based on the Drydocks World-Dubai experience with, and reliability of, Thordon’s bearing products (the tug’s 200mm [7.874in] diameter shafts were each operating XL propeller shaft and SXL rudder bearings) it was decided that both seals would be replaced by TG100s.

OPI sales manager Anupam Paul said, “Drydocks World-Dubai pushed for the Thordon shaft seal because of the reliability and performance of the design but it was the safe-return-to port capability that sealed the deal.”

More than seven years on, and after one scheduled drydocking, the Thordon seals and bearings remain unchanged. “Even the bellows are in great shape.” he said.

Commenting on the success of the TG100 seal, Thordon Bearings’ Technical Director Tony Hamilton, said, “With hundreds of units now in service, this seal is a vitally important component to vessel safety, protecting both crew and vessel. The design’s inflatable secondary seal means a vessel can return safely to the nearest port if the seal is badly damaged, preventing water ingress and potential sinking.”

“The success we now have in the UAE is directly related to the excellent working relationship between Ocean Power International and local yards,” Hamilton added. “The work Rafid and the OPI team carried out to this tug, Thordon’s first reference on a UAE Navy vessel, has strengthened our position across this region.”

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