Skip to main content

Since the change in Emission Control Area (ECA) regulations in January 2015, ships entering ECAs have to change from using heavy fuel oil (HFO) to fuel with a sulphur content of less than 0.1%, necessitating an adjustment of the ships’ engine lubrication. Failure to do so carries a real risk of loss of propulsion. The fuel and lubricant change process entails tasks for the entire crew of a ship and makes understanding of engine lubrication critical. But it seems that many cadet officers have a need for greater knowledge on lube related issues. 

Recently, three members of Total Lubmarine’s Americas team returned to the U.S Merchant Marine Academy (USMMA) where they trained as cadets to deliver a lecture encompassing modern cross-head diesel engines, system lubrication, cylinder lubrication, drain oil analysis and environmentally acceptable lubricants. The lecture was delivered to two classes totalling 85 senior cadets, all with a year’s sea-time spent serving on arrange of ships. We take a keen interest in cadets’ knowledge of lubrication, especially once they have completed some sea-time as this is often indicative of the emphasis that ship operators place on engine lubrication training. 

A survey of the students, expecting to graduate in June 2016, revealed that while lubrication was thoroughly covered as a topic by the USMMA, 78% received no practical lubricant training while at sea. 95% of the cadets could not remember or were never told the key base numbers (BN) of the cylinder oils used on their vessels, and 53% did not know who their vessels’ lubricant providers were. This is indicative of a general need for ship operators to provide more lubrication training, practically reflected by nearly a quarter of the cadets commenting on issues they observed aboard their vessels during their year at sea – cylinder liner problems, contaminated sump tanks, generator lubricant issues and stern tube lubricant contamination. 

The need for more attention to be paid to lubricant training is not limited to a particular sector of the shipping industry – cadets consulted spent up to a year at sea with companies operating vessels in almost every conceivable sector of the industry including tanker, dry bulk, passenger, container and ro-ro.

Given these circumstances, we consider it vital to continue raising awareness of lubrication at all levels of the maritime sector, from delivering lectures to marine cadets to sending our sales engineers on-board both customer and prospective customer vessels to enhance the understanding of engineers and officers and impress upon them the importance of training cadets entrusted to their care.

The lectures at the USMMA were well received and the Total Lubmarine team finished the visit by donating an initial set of lubricants for use in the cadets’ training to the USMMA’s waterfront, including U.S. Environmental Protection Agency recognised environmentally acceptable lubricants (EAL).

But it is of course not just the USA where Total Lubmarine is active. Total Lubmarine is committed to furthering the lubrication knowledge of marine officers of the future around the world and through our Maritime Academic Support Programme (MASP) have given financial help to over 150 marine cadets since 2004. We have partnerships with four leading maritime institutions, L’École Nationale Supérieure Maritime in France, Marine Engineering College, Dalian Maritime University, and Merchant Marine College, Shanghai Maritime University, in China and National Kaohsiung Marine University in Taiwan.


A presidential inauguration 

As a French company, we are particularly close to France’s merchant marine and the École Nationale Supérieure Maritime of France, which has four campuses spread across the country in Le Havre, Saint-Malo, Nantes and Marseille. As partners of the academy, each year we deliver numerous lectures to cadets at each campus and provide a wide range of cylinder oils and other lubricants to facilitate their training.

We were delighted that French President François Hollande visited the new ENSM du Havre site and building at the beginning of October 2015 for its official inauguration and as part of the same visit was able to inaugurate the brand new 18,000 TEU CMA CGM Bougainville containership belonging to a longstanding client of ours, CMA CGM Group. We have worked extensively over many years with both ENSM and CMA CGM Group and have been able to provide excellent training coupled with high quality Total Lubmarine lubricants to both.

In his speech delivered to the staff and cadets of ENSM du Havre, the President stressed the importance of a strong, well trained merchant marine to France, and by extension to all countries. We are proud to be playing our part in the formation, education, ongoing training and supply of top quality marine lubricants to the merchant fleets of the world and will continue in our efforts to provide agile, up-to-date lubrication education.