• Underwater rudder inspection and follow up repair steers owner clear of trouble

    Underwater rudder inspection and follow up repair steers owner clear of trouble


    Early on a Tuesday morning in November we received a call on our 24/7 emergency number from the owner of a tanker that experienced steering troubles with its rudder. The vessel was performing cargo operations in Antwerp and needed a fast on-site solution that would allow it to sail on after commercial operations were complete without losing time and with a fully functioning rudder. Offering fast underwater solutions is what we do best, so we immediately mobilized a team to the vessel’s location to assist.

    To make an accurate assessment of the situation, our divers started with a thorough underwater inspection of the rudder. This allowed them to communicate the exact situation and the nature of the damage to the owner and our technical department. During this survey the vessel could continue her cargo operations without any hindrance.

    The inspection revealed that the rudder’s Becker flap was almost completely detached from the rudder. This caused serious troubles during steering. The top hinge had come loose completely. The weight of the flap had severely bent the pin that attached it to the rudder at the bottom hinge and was just barely keeping it from falling off. The edge of the rudder was also cracked and deformed next to the lower hinge.

    Because of this deformation, removal of the flap was not straightforward. Many years of experience and technical expertise allowed our technical department to come up with a repair plan within a matter of hours. This solution would allow the owner to continue his vessel on its schedule without any noticeable delay, so he gladly accepted.

    Fast, high quality solution
    We have a large stock of equipment available in our fast response center for our repair teams at all times. They could therefore load all the needed gear onto one of our workboats immediately after the repair plan was approved and mobilize to the tanker early in the afternoon of the same day.

    After arriving next to the vessel, the diver/welders started the operation by securing the rudder flap with chains. Next they burned off the area of the flap that connected it to the bent pin. Once this was done, the divers left the water and the crew of the tanker slowly moved the rudder’s position until the flap disconnected from the rudder and came to rest completely on the chains.

    The Becker flap was then lifted onto our workboat and brought to our workshop. By doing this the vessel could immediately sail on to her next scheduled stop. The flap was later transported to the OEM to be repaired. It will be ready to be reinstalled when the tanker will dock at a convenient time and location that fits the schedule of the owner.

    In less than 24 hours we were able to mobilize a team to the vessel, perform a detailed inspection to assess to situation, devise a fast underwater solution and carry out the repair. This is a good example of the start-to-finish services we offer our customers. You can call us with any problem you have with your vessel and we will take the worries out of your hand and take care of every step of the operation.