• Marine

Thordon Appoints New Nigerian Distributor to Support the Greening of Africa's Largest Fleet

Gelose Marine

Gelose Marine Services Ltd. has joined Thordon Bearings’ extensive network of authorized distributors to further the “greening” of Nigeria’s fleet of domestic and international vessels with more sustainable bearing solutions.

Based in Port Harcourt, Rivers State, Nigeria, Gelose has a diverse services portfolio, ranging from maritime security and vessel management to technical support, ship repair, and dry dockings with its own 400t ship lift capability shipyard. The company also owns a fleet of 9 fast patrol vessels.

Thordon’s Regional Manager for Northern Europe & Africa, Neil McDonald, said: “Nigeria has a significant fleet and a good range of drydocks and shipyards, but it can be a difficult place to do business. Having seasoned professionals on the ground is hugely important and Gelose Marine Services is an established name across Nigeria’s maritime industry, with local teams, local knowledge and an extensive list of contacts. We are looking forward to an increased presence in the country.”

Gelose Marine Services, which replaced Thordon’s previous distributor and engineering partner in February 2024, has established a new subsidiary, Gelose Distribunet Limited, through which its distribution business will be served.

Andrew Aligbe, CEO, Gelose Marine Services, said: “We are very much looking forward to working with Thordon Bearings to increase its orderbook for pollution-free bearings and seals. Nigeria has roughly 2000 vessels that would benefit from “Thordonization” and we have the engineering capability to make that happen. Ship managers with assets in the region now have an opportunity to operate bearings and seals that are more robust, reliable, cost effective and, importantly, more environmentally appropriate than those lubricated by oil or grease.”

Gelose has already secured first orders for Thordon and will supply propeller shaft bearings, for 100mm (3.94in) twin-shaft vessels, along with a range of rudder bearings and propeller shaft bearings for retrofit installation for twelve, 35 metre (114.8ft), fast patrol vessels operated by Nigerian Navy crew. The company will also install Thordon’s seawater-lubricated COMPAC propeller shaft bearings to its own fleet of 19 metre (62.3ft) fast patrol craft.

While the larger tankers and LNG Carriers that serve Nigeria’s offshore oil and gas fields tend to drydock in Ghana, the Middle East, or Singapore, OSV, PSVs, anchor handlers, tugs, fishing vessels, and military craft are served by the smaller drydocks and jetties around Lagos and Port Harcourt.

Gelose will also supply the Nigerian Navy, Africa’s largest naval force, which is already an established Thordon customer. More than 50 vessels in the Nigerian Navy, including the modern German-built MEKO series of corvettes and light frigates, feature Thordon’s seawater-lubricated COMPAC propeller shaft bearings.

The appointment of a new distributor for Nigeria is part of Thordon Bearings’ strategy to leverage its position across the African continent and meet anticipated demand for greener pollution solutions.

According to United Nations Conference on Trade and Development’s (UNCTAD) 2023 review of maritime transport, Nigeria is the largest ship owning country in Africa, with 291 vessels totaling 7.94Mdwt, equating to a 0.56% share of the world fleet value. Africa was also the only region in the world to show an increase in port calls by dry bulk carriers – up 2.5% in 2022. The region also recorded a >5% increase in port calls by liquid bulk carriers.

Thordon now has authorized distributors covering Egypt, South Africa, Namibia, and Kenya, and is looking at establishing a foothold in Ghana and Senegal.