All About Marine Lubricants

All About Marine Lubricants


Marine lubricants in South Africa are critical to the performance of marine engines. These fluids help to keep the engine clean and prevent corrosion. New fuels and new engine technologies have increased the use of lubricants in marine engines. Many leading OEM cylinder oils have also altered their strategies recently, making the need for marine lubricants even more pressing. According to a recent survey of marine owners and operators, 30 percent had yet to undertake proper planning for introducing new fuels or lubricants.

Typical composition of marine lubricants:

Marine engines can run on various fuels and have varying requirements for lubricant composition. In general, marine engines should use a 25BN or 40BN lubricant. However, the composition of marine lubricants must meet certain criteria, including those related to lower sulfur content. The International Maritime organization has published a regulation on sulfur content in shipping fuel that will limit the use of heavy fuel oil, which is high in sulfur content. Maritime industry stakeholders are preparing for this shift by developing very low-sulfur fuel oil blends.

Methods of lubricating marine engines:

Marine engines can be protected against corrosion by properly lubricating them. Lubricants used for marine engines have two types: cylinder oils and system oils. Cylinder oils ensure that the cylinder-piston assembly is properly lubricated, while system oils help to protect all of the engine’s moving parts. Both types of marine oils must be low-BN and have increased thermal resistance.

Environmental impact:

The use of petroleum-based lubricants in marine engines poses several environmental challenges. Most of these lubricants contain petroleum base oil, which is highly polluting and harmful to the environment. Each year, approximately 70 million KL of oil-based lubricants are released into the environment. Even small amounts of lubricants contaminate water and soil, endangering aquatic life. Not only does this impact wildlife, but contaminated seafood poses a risk to humans.

Cost of marine lubricants:

The marine lubricant market is expected to grow moderately over the forecast period. The Asia pacific region will remain the largest consumer, owing to the large number of ship fleet companies operating. The region also has many dry docks and increased trade activities, which will increase the demand for marine lubricants.

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