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The case for EAL lubricants

By January 4, 2021January 7th, 2021No Comments

The case for EAL Environmentally Acceptable Lubricants (EALs) are defined as biodegradable, non-bioaccumulative and minimally harmful for aquatic environment (like fish, seaweeds …). EAL products must be used on equipment with oil-to-sea interfaces unless technically infeasible and are mandatory in United States waters since 2013.

Ships using EALs are able to comply with various legislative requirements including the US Environmental Protection Agency’s and obtain a 2013 Vessel General Permit (VGP). Hence, there are tremendous cost savings, in the event of penalties assessed by the Coast Guard or other maritime entities.

One small release of oil into a lake or sea, will produce a large, visible sheen.  This requires a call to the authorities to report the accident.  In most cases, the users of biodegradable oils, or EAL fluids, will face little if no penalties.  Otherwise, boat or ship owners that had a release into the water, and using conventional mineral oils, will face very strong fees.

In December 2013, the United States Environment Protection Agency’s (EPA) Vessel General Permit (VGP) became effective, requiring any vessel greater than 79 feet to use environmentally acceptable lubricants* (EAL) in all oil-to-sea interfaces.

To support your efforts to comply with the VGP legislation, Western States Oil International offers– a full range of synthetic marine lubricant products. These high-performance lubricants also offer outstanding equipment protection, helping you reduce costs and increase productivity.

Facts for the use of VGP Fluids (Vessel General Permit)

  • The regulations include the Great Lakes and US waters up to a range of three miles from the coast.
  • Seals and equipment need to be maintained to regulation standards, with fines for non-compliance.
  • Affected marine applications include: stern tubes, controllable pitch propellers, stabilizers, rudders, thrusters, azipods, wire ropes and towing notch interfaces.
  • Vessel operators were not required to switch to EAL oils in December 2013 if it was technically infeasible to do so.
  • An oil change may not be feasible until the next scheduled dry dock, which may be some time in the future.
  • While not mandated by the VGP, the EPA also strongly encourages the use of environmentally acceptable lubricants in all above-deck equipment to further reduce risk to the environment.