Keeping seafaring vessels leak-free in between planned dry-dockings is essential for optimising travel and minimising waste. World Cruise Industry Review speaks to Jørgen P Beyer about ABCON’s range of products, which successfully combat and rectify wear and tear of ships.

Can you describe how the ABCON Stop Leak products came to be developed?

Jørgen P Beyer: The ABCON Stop Leak story started more than ten years ago when Danish offshore service company ESVAGT had problems with leaking stern tubes. After two traditional efforts to stop a leak, it accepted our offer to try an ABCON product; it immediately solved the problem. Hereafter, the ABCON MARINE product line was developed in close cooperation with ESVAGT. Later, the range of test companies was extended to the Danish ferry operator Scandlines.

The leaking part of the stern tube system must be filled with the required amount of ABCON MARINE-STERN TUBE SL. If the system contains 500L, the required volume of ABCON additive is 50L; it is delivered in two 20L and one 10L pails, which can easily be handled by the crew. After leaving the port, the engine room staff fills the additive into the relevant header tank. As the additive is heavier than the systems oil, it sinks to the bottom and hence it will pass the leaking area. Here, the ABCON particles will soon build up a barrier, which then stops the leak.

What circumstances are likely to cause these leaks?

Our experience is that fishing lines and pieces of fishing net in the stern tube, and thrusters often cause this problem. There are, of course, limits to what ABCON MARINE additives can do, but leakages of 50-100L a day have been stopped successfully.

One of the Scandline ferries caught a shopping trolley in the tunnel thruster. The resulting leakage was stopped by adding THRUSTER SLL and the ferry continued operating until its next scheduled dry-docking.

Another major cause is insufficient lubrication of seals when dry-docking. The pressure from the rubber seals has a tendency to press the oil film out during a couple of days of stand-still. When the shaft starts rotating, the dry surface produces heat and the rubber surface is compromised. Little by little, it leads to a leakage. We see this from ship operators who come to us one to two months after dry-docking and present us with their problems. Fortunately, the ABCON MARINE-STERN TUBE SL or THRUSTER SL additive efficiently stops these leaks.

Wherever there are oil-filled systems being used irregularly, such as thrusters, cranes and gear boxes, there is a risk that the seals ‘dry up’ during stand-still and therefore there is a risk of leakage. The product line ABCON MARINE THRUSTER SL can easily stop the leak. Using the THRUSTER+ product, which works as a protective measure, will reduce the risk of leakage as it adds a layer of Teflon to the mating surfaces, further reducing wear and tear.

Can you tell us about ABCON’s work with Scandlines, and the similarity between working with ferries and cruise vessels?

In relation to cruise liners, many of the parameters are the same. Ferries are designed for a specific harbour facility and have a well-defined capacity for lorries, private cars and passengers; there is no replacement vessel in the market if the vessel has to go to dry-dock. The same applies to cruise liners where the passengers have booked a well-described cabin a long time in advance.

In other words, what has benefitted Scandlines can be transferred over to cruise companies. Scandlines started as one of our biggest customers simply because the ferries had problems with leakages due to so many port calls. Today they hardly buy anything as the ABCON MARINE-Stop Leak and wear-reducing additives have reduced wear and the risk of catching fishing lines due to their Teflon content. One such example is the thrusters; before treated with THRUSTER+, Scandlines used to overhaul the thrusters at two-year intervals. After treatment, it is extended to four years.

How does ABCON factor environmental sustainability into its business model?

From the very beginning, our vision was to help ship-owners reduce their impact on the environment. Stop Leak and wear-reducing additives are our contribution; both lead to a lower consumption of resources and less direct impact on the ocean environment.

Environmentally acceptable Stop Leak additives were developed in 2010 and have been delivered to vessels using biolubrication oil. The full ABCON MARINE line is therefore available in mineral oil and bio-oil versions.