Over fifty years ago, ship owners moved from open water lubricated stern tube bearings to oil-lubricated white metal bearings. Improvements in sealing technology encouraged this move. White metal bearings in a closed oil system offered a proven technology, which provided for predictable and controlled wear life and reduced

Recently, improvements in materials and bearing design have resulted in greater options in water-lubricated stern tube bearings that provide improved wear life. To eliminate any source of stern tube oil pollution and reduce risks associated with seal damage, some owners have made the decision to convert existing ships with oil-lubricated stern tubes to water-lubricated stern tubes.

This paper outlines the process used in converting a stern tube operating on oil-lubricated bearings to water-lubricated bearings through the experience of a recent conversion completed in China.

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