• Fast underwater stern tube seal replacement avoids need to drydock

    Fast underwater stern tube seal replacement avoids need to drydock

    31/10/2012

    Last month Hydrex diver/technician teams carried out underwater stern tube seal repairs on a 242-meter container vessel close to the company’s headquarters in Antwerp. The vessel was suffering from an oil leak, making a fast repair necessary. Using one of the company’s flexible mobdocks the team was able to carry out the entire operation on-site and underwater, saving time and money for the owners.

    Every Hydrex office has a fast response centre equipped with all the latest facilities, lightweight equipment and tools. These centers were designed specifically to increase speed of service. This allowed us to mobilize a team together with all the needed equipment to the vessel’s location within the shortest possible time frame.

    After the diving team had set up a monitoring station, the operation started with a thorough underwater inspection of the stern tube seal assembly. The divers then removed the rope guard of the vessel as well as the fishing lines tangled around the liner that had caused the oil leak.

    The team then installed the flexible mobdock around the stern tube seal assembly creating a dry underwater environment for the divers to work in drydock-like conditions, a necessity for permanent stern tube seal repairs. After cleaning the entire assembly, the divers disconnected the split ring and brought it to the surface to be cleaned. Next the team removed the three damaged seals one by one and replaced them with new ones. Because the existing running area was completely worn down, the diver/technicians also installed a spacer ring to create a new running area for the seals. The operation ended with the conducting of a pressure test with positive results, the removal of the flexible mobdock and the reinstallation of the rope guard.

    By creating a dry environment underwater, the divers were able to rapidly complete the required work on-site. Every day a ship has to go off hire causes a substantial loss of money. The teams therefore worked in shifts to perform the stern tube seal repairs within the shortest possible time frame. This saved the owner the time and money which going to drydock would entail.

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