• Underwater bow thruster removal adapted to the vessel’s schedule

    Underwater bow thruster removal adapted to the vessel’s schedule


    A month after a Hydrex diver/technician team removed a bow thruster unit which needed to be overhauled from a 360-meter container vessel, the same procedure was repeated on the vessel’s sister ship. As with the earlier operation, the team first prepared the thruster tunnel during the ship’s stop in Le Havre, France before carrying out the removal itself in Rotterdam. Splitting the job into two steps allows the divers to perform the operation underwater and in a very short time frame without interrupting a vessel’s schedule.

    The available window in Rotterdam was very short for both vessels. The time required to remove the thruster unit therefore needed to be brought back to the absolute minimum. On both occasions a Hydrex team mobilized to the vessel while it was berthed in Le Havre to perform all possible preliminary work. This included removing the thruster blades one by one and preparing the engine room and the bow thruster tunnel for the operation.

    The team then returned to the Antwerp headquarters and mobilized again from there as soon as the vessel was entering the Port of Rotterdam. This was done using one of the Hydrex workboats loaded with all the needed equipment. The Hydrex catamarans are fully equipped as dive support stations that can be used for a wide range of operations in Belgium, the Netherlands, the United Kingdom and France. They increase flexibility of operation, which is essential during operations like these where speed is of the utmost importance.

    The team started the Rotterdam part of the operation by securing the gearbox with hoisting equipment. Next they disconnected the bow thruster unit from the engine room and lowered it onto a cradle designed specifically for thruster operations.

    After the diver/technicians removed the bow thruster unit from the tunnel, it was brought onboard the Hydrex workboat. The team then securely sealed off the engine room. This allowed the vessel to continue sailing while its bow thruster unit was being overhauled.

    On both occasions the team brought the unit to the manufacturer with the Hydrex workboat.

    By performing the operation on-site and underwater, the divers made it possible for the owner to keep his vessel out of drydock. The Hydrex team worked in shifts around the clock. They finished the job well within the available time frame. This allowed the ship to sail perfectly on schedule.