Increased demand for rudder conversions

23 Sep 2011
A Becker rudder conversion in progress

A Becker rudder conversion in progress

Becker Marine Systems reports several recent successful applications of its rudder conversion retrofits, which the company claims are easy to install and will significantly improve manoeuvring and fuel economy.

The German company’s after-sales team is said to be known for refurbishment of existing Becker Rudders by exchanging worn parts and applying a complete makeover to all rudder components. Such a job has been carried out on cruise ship Mein Schiff 2.

Additionally, the after-sales team has faced increased demand for conversions of other makers’ rudders, with shipowners seeking to increase manoeuvrability of ships in service.

One such conversion was carried out in 2010 on the 25-year-old cruise vessel Thomson Dream where the semi-spade rudders were converted to a new Becker TLFKSR twisted leading edge flap rudder system. The new rudders are said to enable the captain to perform many harbour operations without tug assistanvce, something which was frequently needed previously.

Other rudder conversions were carried out for Stena Line. Both Stena Britannica and Stena Hollandica were fitted with new Becker TLFKSR twisted leading edge flap rudder systems while the vessels were docked for lengthening in 2007. Also, Stena Danica was fitted with TLFKSR rudders to replace non-Becker rudders, demonstrating improved manoeuvrability.

Not only passenger vessels are converted; the 2001-built Jaeger Arrow of Gearbulk Norway was delivered with a semi-spade Schilling Mariner rudder. In a three-week docking in June 2011, Becker‘s after sales team cut out the tarnished semi-spade rudder and replaced it with a new full-spade Schilling Monovec rudder. As is the case with most conversions, the Becker team was able to fit the new rudder to the existing steering gear. The crew of the Jaeger Arrow underwent the optional manoeuvring training offered by Becker Marine Systems to take advantage of the improved course stability.

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