Vickers ‘Trusted for Generations’ at Nor-Shipping 2017

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Vickers Oils were pleased to have participated at Nor-Shipping 2017 held in Oslo from May 30th – June 2nd. This is one of a number of major shipping events that we will be participating at during 2017, and as always, our stand attracted a large number of visitors interested to find out more about our product range and how we can help them select the right EAL solution for their vessels. The theme of our stand this year was ‘Trusted for Generations’ which is something that reflects the leading role we have played in the Marine lubrication industry for nearly 150 years, and how during that time we have been able to support and assist our customers when they have needed us.

Nor-Shipping attracted over 1000 exhibitors and around 15000 visitors, so again demonstrated its importance in the Marine calendar. Our team of Paul Smailes (Sales & Marketing Director), Graham Lee (Sales Manager) and Harry Rowan (Sales Manager) were ably supported by our Norwegian agent Jan Henrik Helen of Imolo A/S.

Paul was delighted with the way our stand looked, something which was commented on by many of our visitors, and the level of interest in Vickers Oils shown by them. Having been a regular supporter of Nor-Shipping we look forward to participating again in the future.


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Peter VickersIn April 2017, Peter Vickers was invited to speak at the ‘European Marine Engineering Conference’ in Amsterdam and provide an update on the work which Vickers Oils have been undertaking into the phenomenon of increasing levels of lead (Pb) in the sterntubes of a small number of vessels.

The Conference, organised by Riviera Maritime Media, addressed the operational, technological and engineering challenges facing ship operators. Many ship owners, managers, designers, equipment manufacturers, suppliers and class societies attended the event.

Peter’s presentation entitled ‘HIGH LEAD (Pb) LEVELS IN STERNTUBES’ considered the possible sources of elevated lead levels. Increasing levels of lead have been found in sterntube oil analysis from some vessels in some fleets, from multiple EAL producers.  The phenomenon has been reported in vessels with lead-free bearings and there does not appear to be any relationship to the condition of EAL or obvious pattern or consistency, with differences even observed between sister vessels.

The presentation concluded that

  • Elevated lead levels are being seen in tin based, lead-free bearings as well as ones containing lead, therefore, the source of the lead is not the bearing.

  • Evidence now points to presence of lead based coatings and paints in the sterntube system.

The paper was very well received and provoked significant interest from the delegates.

Below is a summary of the work Vickers Oils have undertaken into the phenomenon of increasing levels of lead (Pb) in the sterntubes of a small number of vessels, if you would like any additional information or a copy of the full technical report please Contact Us and complete the request form.

In recent years, routine lubricant analysis has highlighted an increasing level of lead (Pb) in the sterntubes of a small number of vessels.  The level has been above the International Association of Classification Societies (IACS) guidelines for sterntubes which states that the level should be <10 mg/kg and therefore has raised questions about bearing condition.

The problem has occurred not only on some vessels filled with Vickers HYDROX BIO formula but also on some vessels filled with competing EALs, using unrelated formulas. It should also be noted that there are occasional reports of elevated Pb levels in sterntubes with conventional mineral oils.

Vickers Oils has investigated the problem in depth, in cooperation with several customers and a leading Classification Society.  From the work undertaken, our interpretation is that:

  • HYDROX BIO is not the source since it does not contain any Pb.

  • It is not wear since none of the incidences have ever shown an accompanying increase in other bearing metal elements such as Tin (Sn) or Antimony (Sb).

  • The bearing is not the source of Pb since this phenomenon has occurred on both vessels with Pb-based bearings and also on Tin (Sn) based bearings with near-zero Pb content.

Elevated Pb levels are not caused by a change in the lubricant condition since there is no correlation with Total Acid Number (TAN) or water content.  Used oil analysis from sterntubes rarely shows oxidation or hydrolysis of the lubricant and shows no correlation with rising Pb.

Vickers Oils requested Lloyd’s Register Marine Technical Investigation Department (TID) to undertake an investigation of the elevated Pb concentration in the sterntube lubricant of a vessel at DD.  The conclusion was that there was “no evidence of selective corrosion or leaching found on the lead based white metal lining of the sterntube AFT bearing.”

Paint/coatings used to protect the gravity or other tanks in the sterntube lubricant system were identified as a possible source of Pb.  Red-lead is an anti-corrosive paint used to prime bare metal during fabrication. Whilst the ship yard and customer typically agree a detailed paint specification for all components, the type of shop primer to be used does not appear to be specified.

As part of the investigation, samples of paint scrapings and information about the paint/coating were gathered for vessels exhibiting high levels of Pb.  Specialist analysis was undertaken which identified high levels of Pb in the paint samples. The potential exists for this to be transferred to the lubricant during service and then to be detected in used oil analysis.

It appears that whilst some paint suppliers may be moving towards, or have moved to, the elimination of Pb entirely, some have not.  For the foreseeable future, the world’s fleet will include vessels with Pb containing paints.      

In summary, our investigations indicate that there is sufficient evidence to conclude that the most likely source of Pb is from paints or other surface coatings used in the sterntube lubricant system, most commonly the gravity tank.

IMO announce adoption of the Polar Code

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IMO announce adoption of an international code of safety for ships operating in polar waters (Polar Code)

IMO (International Maritime Organisation) has adopted the International Code for Ships Operating in Polar Waters (Polar Code) and related amendments, to make it mandatory under both the  International Convention for the Safety of Life at Sea (SOLAS) and the International Convention for the Prevention of Pollution from Ships (MARPOL).

The Polar Code entered into force on 1 January 2017 and covers the full range of shipping-related matters relevant to navigation in waters surrounding the two poles – ship design, construction and equipment; operational and training concerns; search and rescue; and, equally important, the protection of the unique environment and eco-systems of the polar regions.

The Code requires ships intending to operate in the defined waters of the Antarctic and Arctic to apply for a Polar Ship Certificate.  The issuance of a certificate would require an assessment, taking into account the anticipated range of operating conditions and hazards the ship may encounter in the polar waters. The assessment would include information on identified operational limitations, and plans or procedures or additional safety equipment necessary to mitigate incidents with potential safety or environmental consequences.

In terms of Pollution Prevention measures, the Code states that in Arctic waters any discharge into the sea of oil, or oily mixtures, from any ship shall be prohibited. Non-toxic biodegradable lubricants should be considered in lubricated components located outside the underwater hull with direct seawater interfaces, like shaft seals and slewing seals.

Vickers Oils’ EAL product range – HYDROX BIO, BIOGEAR XP, BIOGREASE and ECOSURE – meet the requirements of the Polar Code. Read The EAL Range for more details on recommendations for specific applications.

The following graphic demonstrates how the Polar Code protects the environment

how-the-polar-code-protects-the-environment-english-infographicFor full details of the Polar Code please go to the IMO website on –

Customer Service – Going the Extra Mile

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Since 1828, when Vickers Oils began trading, our reputation has been built on the quality of the products we produce and the quality of the service we give to our customers. During that time our innovative products have become recognised as being the best available and we enjoy the recognition of being market leaders in the development of Marine EALs.

The level of customer service we give our customers has also long been recognised as one of the benefits of choosing the Vickers brand. Our personal, one-to-one service is still something our customers prefer and something we are rightly proud of. We receive hundreds of enquiries every week at our headquarters in Leeds, and all are dealt with in an efficient and timely manner. However, in recent weeks we have had three separate occasions when, thanks to the extraordinary efforts of our Sales team in Leeds and the co-operation of our Agents and Stockists in Singapore, Holland, Spain and South Africa we have been able to go ‘the extra mile’ in terms of ensuring our customers received the support they required, when they needed it.

The first was when one of our largest customers had a vessel in dry-dock in Singapore. The vessel reported a seal failure and as a result lost all of the stern tube lubricants. They needed replacement product urgently, so the decision was taken to airfreight the product from Leeds to Singapore. The products left Leeds at midday on the Wednesday and on the Friday was cleared by customs in Singapore and was delivered to the shipyard at 8 a.m.

The second occasion again happened recently, when a customer requested a large order of our HYDROX BIO to be delivered in Cadiz, during a public holiday. Responding to their urgent request, we arranged to immediately transfer product from our stock in Rotterdam to our Agent based in Algeciras. Thanks to the co-operation and commitment from our Agents, the supply could be made to the vessel without any delay.

Lastly, and to show that we provide this level of service to our customers no matter how large the company, we received an urgent enquiry from a new customer in Holland, who was the agent for a ship under repair in Cape Town. Class had told the owners that the vessel could not leave until its stern tube had been filled with HYDROX BIO 220. We received the order in the morning and by the middle of the afternoon, the required one drum had been delivered and the vessel was able to leave Cape Town as scheduled, which was much appreciated by the vessel agent and owner.

We always pride ourselves on the level of service and commitment we offer to our customers and whilst we have chosen to highlight these three recent incidents, they happen on a regular basis. Dennis Connell, Sales Office Manager said, “the efforts made in ensuring these three orders were supplied when our customers needed our help, just underlines the level of support and co-operation between our Sales Office team in Leeds and our network of Agents and Stockists around the globe”.

This level of dedication and team work means that we can offer our customers an unparalleled level of service that has been Trusted for Generations


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Posidonia 2016 was held from June 6 – 10 at the Athens Metropolitan Expo. The event, generally considered to be the most successful Posidonia to date, was organised under the auspices of the Greek shipping community and the five major associations representing Greek shipping interests: Ministry of Maritime Affairs & Insular Policy, Municipality of Piraeus, Hellenic Chamber of Shipping, Union of Greek Shipowners, Greek Shipping Cooperation Committee, Hellenic Shortsea Shipowners Association and Association of Passenger Shipping Companies. Continue reading VICKERS OILS EXHIBIT AT POSIDONIA 2016

Vickers Oils Gain Approval at Rolls-Royce for EAL Gear Oil

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Vickers Oils is pleased to confirm that approval has been received from Rolls-Royce Marine AS – Ulsteinvik for the use of BIOGEAR XP 68 in Tunnel Thrusters. We have worked with Rolls-Royce over many years to develop our products in order to meet the stringent performance requirements required for lubricants in today’s equipment.

BIOGEAR XP is a range of high performance, Environmentally Acceptable Lubricants (EALs) designed for use where there is potential for fluid loss to occur, for example from thrusters and some CPP designs. These products are extreme pressure (EP) gear oils with excellent anti-wear and micro pitting performance. BIOGEAR XP is available in ISO 68, 100 and 150 viscosities and is stocked on a global basis.

This is the latest in a wide range of OEM approvals received for the Vickers Oils BIOGEAR XP range of VGP compliant EAL gear lubricants, from thruster manufacturers including Kawasaki Heavy Industries, Nakashima, Hyundai Heavy Industries, Kamome, KTE and Caterpillar Propulsion.

Should you wish to discuss your EAL requirements in more detail please do not hesitate to contact us

Vickers Oils and Jopca Marine at ASIA PACIFIC MARITIME (APM) 2016

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20-1Vickers Oils recently participated at ASIA PACIFIC MARITIME (APM) held in Singapore from the 16th to 18th March. APM is considered to be Asia’s premier trade exhibition for international marine, workboat and offshore communities. The three-day event recorded 14,954 visitors, and attracted a total of 1,521 exhibitors from over 60 countries and 17 official pavilions.

Vickers exhibited in association with our Agent in Singapore, Jopca Marine, and welcomed many visitors to the stand interested in discussing our range of EALs.

Paul Smailes, Sales and Marketing Director, attended the event for the duration and said he was delighted with the number of visitors the stand attracted and the level of interest in our products. Paul also wished to thank Choo Kok Liang and his team at Jopca, for their efforts in arranging our participation and during the event itself.


Revolutionary river technology marks first for Leeds and milestone for new eco-friendly facility for Vickers Oils

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Leeds, March – Eleven kilometres of coiled pipework for a highly efficient water source heat pump has been craned into the River Aire, marking a major step in the installation of a pioneering new eco-friendly facility for Vickers Oils, a family-run company which has been based at its Clarence Road site in Leeds for almost 140 years.
Continue reading Revolutionary river technology marks first for Leeds and milestone for new eco-friendly facility for Vickers Oils