When the Grand Princess completed her scheduled drydocking at Grand Bahamas Shipyard this month, the propeller shafts were left in place. The two shafts have not been withdrawn since their installation in 1998. Bearing clearances in the original strut and stern tube bearings were checked and indicated that the wear was well within acceptable limits, according to Thordon Bearings, the manufacturer. Also, the company said in a statement, of financial importance is the fact that the bearing design allows for their removal, inspection and re-install with the shaft in place.

The Grand Princess has not had any unscheduled drydockings due to stern tube oil leakage - there is no aft seal to leak and the bearings are lubricated with seawater, not oil. Carnival Corporation has 14 ships fitted with seawater lubricated propeller shaft bearings and more bearing systems on order for two future newbuilds. Canada-based Thordon Bearings designs and manufactures non-polluting propeller shaft, rudder and shaft-line products.