Singapore – Revision of MPA Port regulations from 1 March onwards - Singapore – Revision of MPA Port regulations from 1 March onwards   Notice: Jakarta, Tanjung Priok - Dredging Program   Ben Line Cambodia – Providing Marine Agency, Liner Agency, Offshore Support and Project Logistics - Ben Line Cambodia – Providing Marine Agency, Liner Agency, Offshore Support and Project Logistics   New Regulations at Sriracha Harbour - New Regulations at Sriracha Harbour   Naming Ceremony of TS Lines newest Container Vessel – TS KAOHSIUNG - Naming Ceremony of TS Lines newest Container Vessel – TS KAOHSIUNG   Ben Line Agencies Kuala Lumpur Office Relocation Announcement - Ben Line Agencies Kuala Lumpur Office Relocation Announcement   Ben Line Agencies is proud to represent Port Houston in Asia - TPM Asia Conference held in Shenzhen   Indonesia – New Surabaya Channel Tariff - Indonesia – New Surabaya Channel Tariff   Indonesia – New TS Lines services launched - Indonesia – New TS Lines services launched   Ben Line Agencies Singapore Pte Ltd handles its first Princess Cruises vessel at MBCC, Singapore - FRIDAY 20TH OCTOBER 2017 – Ben Line Agencies Singapore Pte Ltd handles its first Princess Cruises vessel at MBCC, Singapore   Ben Line Agencies Philippines’ marks its 20th Anniversary - Ben Line Agencies Philippines’ marks its 20th Anniversary   Press Release: Waterfront Maritime Services - Waterfront Maritime Services continues to expand its footprint into the dry bulk trades   Ben Line Agencies Indonesia received two awards from Bontang Harbour Master for operations - Two awards presented by Bontang Harbour Master   Ben Line Agencies hosted its Offshore Networking Event held on Jun 29 Jun 2017 - Ben Line Agencies hosted its Offshore Networking Event   Ben Line Agencies team climbing Mt. Fansipan for Sailor’s Society’s - The team summited in 4hrs and 26 minutes!   WaterFront expands global ship agency network - New ship agency extends offering to provide coverage across 356 offices worldwide   Ben Line Agencies Group - A Corporate Member of TRACE International - Ben Line Agencies Group - A Corporate Member of TRACE International   WEF 22nd Jan 2017, service tax on CFR Imports into India - 4.5% of the full freight amount   WaterFront launches a new approach to global ship agency - WaterFront launches a new approach to global ship agency     
Language Selection :
Liner Agency
Port Agency
- Terms and Conditions
Offshore Support Services
- Terms and Conditions

Project Logistics
- Air Freight
- Sea Freight
- Inland Transportation
- Case Studies
- Terms and Conditions

Ship Broking & Commercial Services
Terms and Conditions

Related Services
Simba Logistics

Download Integrated Services Brochure


Use of Lubricants and Lubricant Parameters on Ships 26-Nov-2014



The use of lubricants and lubricant parameters on ships is an important role managed by the main engine lube oil system. This consists of a pump that pressurizes the oil, circulating it through a set of filters and a cooler before distribution to all the moving components of the diesel engine

Lubrication is necessary to help overcome the evil of friction; lubricant oils can be animal (whale oil), vegetable (linseed), or mineral (petroleum). All three types of lubricant have been used over the centuries to dissipate heat, reduce friction and combat wear and tear between the surfaces of two moving components.

Nowadays however we have a choice of two main types of lube oil;

Mineral Lubricants - these are obtained from the processing of crude oil.

Synthetic Oils - a relatively new innovation involving the use of polyglycols or esters.

In the following sections we shall examine the use of mineral lube oil, and its application to marine diesel engines. The use of low quality lubrication oil can lead to several problems, and it is also necessary to maintain the original properties of the oil.

The first section provides an overview of mineral lube oil properties.

An Overview of the Properties of Lubricating Oils


Properties of Lubricating Oils


This is the most important property of any lubricant; the oil's ability to flow at particular or specified temperatures and pressures. The viscosity must be calculated by taking into consideration the application and operating temperature range. For example, if the viscosity of the oil is too great, it will affect the operation of the moving components against each other-offering greater resistance to motion, alternatively if the viscosity is too low then it can flow too freely between the surfaces of the components, failing to lubricate them properly.


Volatility is the ability of the oil to ignite due to a low flash point. This is of particular importance when preventing crankcase explosions - if its flash point is low, it will ignite due to the high temperature of a hot spot causing an explosion. The flash-point of a marine diesel engine lube oil should be above 200°C.


This is especially important for the cylinder lubrication, as it acts as a neutralizer to the acidic sulphur residues from combustion of HFO.


these are added to the lube oil to inhibit the formation of deposits of the moving components; also helps to keep the oil clean.


Often referred to as the 'stickability' of the oil - its ability to adhere to the surfaces such as white metal bearings.

To maintain the lubricating oil's operating parameters and properties, the temperature and pressure must be controlled, this being the duty of a watchkeeping engineer. The solids and water should be removed from the oil through centrifuging, often carried out continuously.

Main Engine Lube Oil System

The oil is pumped from the main engine sump, through a set of duplex oil filters, on through the lube oil cooler and around the main engine components under pressure, in the following manner;

It is pumped into the main bearings, preventing contact between the steel shaft and the white metal bearings.

The oil is also being supplied through swivel jointed pipes inside the engine casing, to the crossheads, and guides, piston cooling and bottom end bearings, the oil pressure being increased by a booster pump.

During this process, the oil also carries away the heat due to friction from the various components, and this heat is then carried away from the oil by the seawater running through the main lube oil cooler.

The engine cylinders have their own lube oil system and pump as the oil requires to be alkaline, to combat acidity. The oil is injected through a set of concentric nozzles or quills arranged around the cylinder liner. This lubricates the surfaces between the cylinder wall and the piston rings; the oil control ring which is located lower down the piston and apart from the main set of compression rings scrapes off the excess oil, rather than allowing it to be burned in combustion.

Author's Notes

The temperatures and pressures of the main engine lube oil system are displayed on gauges within the main control console or above the engine controls, and should be maintained within the parameters laid down by the Chief Engineer/manufacturers. The engineers will normally mark these limits on the various gauges. I have used both thin strips of black tape and an indelible ink pen to achieve this. The watch-keeping engineer can then tell at a glance if there is a problem with the lube oil system.

The control of the lube-oil temperature is vital to the efficient running of the main and auxiliary diesel engines; too high a temperature and the oil will lose its viscosity and, its lubricating qualities; too low a temperature can render the oil too viscous, making it ‘claggy’ or too sticky, leading to possible damage to the bearings, filters and oil circulating pump.


A typical lube oil system for a two stroke marine diesel is shown below;


Willie Scott - Bright Hub Enginnering 


Do you find this article useful? Share it and Follow us on LinkedIn


You May Like

< Back to article list

Liner Agency Project Logistics Ship Broking &
Commercial Services
Related Services
Port Agency
Offshore Support
Australia Myanmar
Cambodia Philippines
China Singapore
Hong Kong South Korea
India Sri Lanka
Indonesia Taiwan
Japan Thailand
Malaysia Timor-Leste

Copyright © Ben Line Agencies. All rights reserved. Terms of Use Site Map Staff Login