• Rapid underwater bow thruster removal avoids drydocking

    Rapid underwater bow thruster removal avoids drydocking

    30/09/2014

    Early in July a Hydrex diver/technician team removed a bow thruster unit which needed to be overhauled from a 160-meter dry cargo vessel. The operation was carried out in Antwerp, close to the company’s headquarters. Hydrex performed the operation underwater in a very short time frame. This made it possible for the owner to keep his vessel out of drydock.

    Together with all the necessary equipment, the team mobilized from the Antwerp fast response center to the vessel’s location. After they set up a monitoring station, the divers started the operation with a detailed inspection of the bow thruster unit and tunnel.

    The diver/technicians then detached the blades one by one and replaced them with blind flanges to prevent oil from leaking from the thruster. In the meantime, initial preparations were made in the bow thruster engine room for the removal of the unit so that there would be no ingress of water once it was taken out.

    The next step was to secure the gearbox with hoisting equipment. The team then disconnected the bow thruster unit from the engine room and lowered it onto a cradle. This cradle was designed especially for such thruster operations.

    Simultaneously the team installed a blind flange to seal off the thruster tunnel from the engine room. Once the unit was lifted onto the quay, the team prepared it for transport to the manufacturer.

    Performing a job like this on a tight schedule takes a lot of planning. This can only be done successfully by staff who have familiarity with such operations and have the relevant know-how and equipment. Hydrex has a technical department capable of executing all the required planning. Our diver/technicians are trained and qualified to perform the full range of required class-approved repair procedures in even the harshest conditions.

    Off-hire time causes a substantial loss of money. The teams therefore worked in shifts to perform the bow thruster removal within the shortest possible time frame. This saved the owner the time and money which going to drydock would have entailed.

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