Success Of Thordon RiverTough Bearings Spurs Fleet-Wide Conversion

Harken Towing, a western Canada-based workboat company with operations along the Fraser River, is converting its vessels’ tailshaft bearings to RiverTough following the success of the Thordon bearing system aboard the 47.7-foot twin-screw tug Granny Hutch.

Since their first installation in 2015, Harken Towing, which operates a fleet of 10 shift tugs, five continuous tugs and nine aluminum water taxis, has installed RiverTough to an additional three tugs and plans to convert the remaining vessels at subsequent drydockings.

Sandy Bourquin, marine account executive at Palmer Johnson Power Systems, Thordon Bearings’ distributor in British Columbia, said the installation has significantly reduced the company’s operational expenditure. “Many tug owners operating in highly abrasive, silty waterways, such as the Fraser River, find that traditional rubber bearings need to be replaced every two years. This means that vessels have to be routinely taken out of service and have their shafts withdrawn, which is a very costly exercise. RiverTough bearings are saving operators a lot of unnecessary expenditure as it is lasting over two times the life of rubber bearings!”

The 6-inch polymer bearings installed on the Granny Hutch five years ago have not been replaced and remain in almost perfect condition.

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“We checked wear and clearances during a recent drydocking and found the bearings in excellent condition,” said Shawn Davies, Harken Towing engineer. “RiverTough has proven itself. The whole system and all the components are in perfect working condition.”

Since that first installation, Harken Towing has converted from rubber bearings to RiverTough tailshaft bearings on the Ken Mackenzie and Harken 6.

Founded in 1948, Harken Towing is one of the most prominent marine towing services companies on Canada’s West Coast. The company’s main focus is towing log booms and barges in the rivers and coast of the Pacific Northwest.