Maritime Partners chooses Thomson Bearings for 12 new pushers

Written by

Nick Blenkey

Thordon Bearings founder Sandy Thomson (left) with Maritime Partners co-founder and chairman Austin Sperry.

Thordon Bearings is to supply water lubricated, grease free bearings for installation on a series of 12 twin screw push boats being built for Maritime Partners LLC. Boats are shaped for delivery by FMT Shipyard & Repair LLC, based in Harvey, Louisiana, with equipment including Thordon RiverTough tail shaft bearings, ThorPlas-Blue rudder bearings with Pucker Seals, linkage bushings ThorPlas-Blue steering caps, SXL thrust washers and TG100 tail shaft seals.

With a fleet of more than 1,600 inland vessels, Maritime Partners is the largest marine equipment lessor in the United States.

The new vessels, however, will be the company’s first new builds to feature a full portfolio of Thordon technology following the success of individual onboard installations of existing tonnage.

Thordon’s RiverTough Tail Shaft System includes RiverTough Tail Shaft Bearings, ThorPlas-Blue Rudder Bearings with Pucker Seals, ThorPlas-Blue Steering Linkage Bushings, SXL Thrust Washers and Thrust Seals. TG100 tail shaft.

“As a leading provider of maritime assets and a founding member of the BlueSky Maritime Coalition, we have a commitment and responsibility to environmentally responsible maritime operations,” said Austin Sperry, co-founder and president of Maritime Partners. “The application of technical solutions that pose absolutely no environmental risk is a matter of course for us.”

“We went through the specs and Austin said he wanted everything Thordon had,” said David DiSalvo, owner of DiSalvo Marine, the independent contractor of Thordon Bearings that made the deal. “He wrote ‘Thordon’ next to the rudder bearings, shaft bearings, steering bushings and seals. Every time we came to a component produced by Thordon, he crossed out what was already in the spec and wrote Thordon.

Maritime Partners operates not only one of the largest, but also one of the most modern, youngest and most environmentally efficient fleets operating on the US river system.

“Maritime Partners has optimized its boat charter business by opting for two different engine packages on these new boats in the fleet.” said DiSalvo. “Both engine options meet the latest US EPA requirements. As a result, new Entech-designed boats use the maximum rated power without having to use Tier IV engines with exhaust after-treatment systems, which benefits charterers by reducing operating costs.

“Now, with the addition of Thordon products, the company has upped its game with environmentally friendly vessels that will provide longevity and low maintenance that its customers will also enjoy for many years to come.”

While the environmental considerations and reduced operating expenses associated with Thordon equipment were obvious factors, the deciding factor came when Austin Sperry met with Thordon Bearings founder George “Sandy” Thomson and discovered that they had something in common.

Austin Sperry is a direct descendant of Elmer Sperry, inventor of the gyro compass. In 2019, Sandy Thomson was the recipient of an award given in the name of his great-great-grandfather, The prestigious Elmer from SNAME. Price a. Sperry for the advancement of the art of transportation.

Thordon Bearings Territory Sales Manager Jim Bright said, “It’s fantastic to see this real, physical connection between the marine industry, Elmer Sperry and the spirit of the award. When Austin met Sandy, it was a meeting of minds. They share the same environmental vision. They both recognize the role that maritime industries must play in finding concrete and meaningful solutions to the problem of climate change.

Earnest A. Martinez