We have seen this for decades now where steering gear room has been a sweet spot to store lubricants. There are two important points to consider:
- Are the fire fighting systems & protection adequate in the steering gear room considering the volume of lubricants stored?
- Did we ever bother to check the shelf life of lubricants?
While the first point could be addressed by a proper risk assessment and fortifying the firefighting equipment, the ship crew and often managers are not aware about the shelf life of the lubricants.
This write up will enlighten and emphasize the importance of shelf life of a lubricant. Most lubricants have supplier-recommended shelf lives based largely upon lubricant’s additive package. For example, lubricants containing rust inhibitors may lose performance within six months in storage. Conversely, some turbine fluids with a slight additive dose may be shelved for up to three years. Shelf life information is typically available from your lubricant supplier and/or manufacturer.
Storing drums and pails of new lubricants in steering gear room for countless months, though the lubricant is sealed/unused, does not essentially mean that the oil is as good as a new lubricant. It is for this reason, Viswa Lab Tests new lubricant sample along with used lubricant samples in order to determine the new lubricant’s quality. The new lubricant samples are tested at no extra cost.
Next time when you take rounds in the steering gear room, do not hesitate to send new lubricant sample along with used lubricants for analysis.
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