Pirate spares, invariably of poor quality, will ultimately affect the reliability and performance of the system served. Pressure to reduce or control costs may lead some ship operators to purchase non-original replacement seals and other spares of dubious quality. A cheaper initial price, however, may well be offset by disastrous ensuing costs in the form of cargo damage and compromised ship safety.
Recent cases reported to MacGREGOR underline the importance of ship operators remaining on guard against the continuing menace of unauthorised spares which, in extreme cases, pose a threat to seafarers’ lives as well as their ships. Pirate spares may look similar to but necessarily differ distinctly from their genuine equivalents as their price must be markedly lower to attract customers. The differences are reflected in material quality, the manufacturing process, overall quality control and scope of supply.
“The dangers of knowingly or unknowingly using such ‘pirate’ spares should be even more apparent at a time when industry attention is focused on the sealing integrity of cargo access systems,” says Hans Berg, deputy general manager of MacGREGOR’s Hatch Cover division. “Hatch cover weathertightness, for example, is a key factor in cargo care and ship survivability. Studies have revealed that shortcomings in rubber packing have contributed to more than half of all reported cases of cargo damage.”