Reducing rudder repair costs
Hydrex Underwater Technologies says that its new alternative underwater habitat for rudder repairs is saving shipowners thousands of dollars in emergency drydocking costs.
Dave Bleyenberg, production executive at Hydrex, said that until recently, permanent in-water rudder repairs were not possible as vessels had to drydock in case major defects were found. But a new version of Hydrex’s proven Mobdock concept is gaining ground as a viable, cost effective alternative to drydocking.
“The equipment can be mobilised to any port in the world, enabling us to expedite permanent rudder repairs at a moment’s notice,” Mr Bleyenberg said.
Recently the new Mobdock was used in the Port of Antwerp to effect repairs to the rudder of a 200m pure car/truck carrier (PCTC) after shipboard engineers found it to be incorrectly balanced.
A Hydrex dive team carried out underwater inspections of the entire rudder system, finding problems with the seal. The new Mobdock was then set up so that further investigations could be carried out in a dry environment.
Mr Bleyenberg explained that the Mobdock allowed the rudder specialist to perform their inspections in drydock-like conditions, with permanent repairs being undertaken.
The existing seal was tightened and incorrectly-sized rings on the upper and lower casing of the rudder seal replaced with new, correctly-machined ones before reassembling the components.
“Such a repair was hitherto impossible without a stint in drydock,” he said. “Engineering, welding and inspection teams can now perform their tasks underwater in a clean, dry environment, reducing maintenance and repair costs without the loss of time and money associated with drydocking and without disruption to a vessels operational profile.”
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