Hydrex fixes tanker rudder

Jan 13 2017

Last November, a 7,071 dwt tanker experienced steering gear problems while manoeuvring in Antwerp.

The vessel managed to safely berth and carry out cargo operations but emergency repairs were needed before she could sail.

The owner contacted Hydrex Underwater Technologies’ fast response team. Twenty-four hours later, the vessel was heading towards its next port of call with a fully functioning rudder.

Hydrex production executive, Dave Bleyenberg, explained. “Immediately after taking the call, we mobilised a dive team, which carried out an underwater assessment of the rudder, communicating the findings to the owner’s technical team ashore. The survey found that the Becker flap had almost completely detached from the rudder, resulting in serious steering problems.

“The top hinge had completely come loose, while the weight of the flap had bent the pin that attached it to the rudder at the bottom hinge. It was hanging on by a thread. The edge of the rudder was also cracked and deformed next to the lower hinge, which meant that removal of the flap was less than straight-forward, he said.

Once the repair plan was approved, the Hydrex work boat berthed alongside the tanker where the dive team offloaded the equipment needed to repair the rudder.

“After arriving at vessel, we began securing the rudder flap with chain blocks before diver welders 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,” said Bleyenberg.

The flap was then sent to the manufacturer’s workshop for repair and will be ready to be re-installed at a time than fits the vessel’s operational schedule.

“In less than 24 hours we were able to mobilise 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,” Bleyenberg concluded.


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