A Hydrex diver/technician team mobilized to St. Malo, France, in January to perform an emergency repair operation on a 132-meter dry cargo vessel.
When the rudder of the vessel was severely damaged during a heavy storm it came loose and was swinging dangerously from side to side during sailing, hitting the propeller of the vessel. The ship was unable to sail any further.
A thorough underwater inspection revealed that the rudder was positioned in the portside angle. Several bolts and rings were missing from the steering gear of the rudder. The team then pulled the rudder to a zero angle. Next they installed a temporary stiffener that would keep the rudder in position. This allowed the manufacturer to safely open up the rudder from the steering room.
It immediately became clear that the steering gear was completely broken and needed to be replaced in its entirety in drydock where the damage to the propeller would also be repaired.
The vessel needed to be towed without the rudder moving uncontrollably and causing further damage. The Hydrex diver/technicians therefore reinforced the temporary stiffener with a full weld and installed seven additional stiffeners. The rudder was now fully secured in the neutral position. The vessel could be towed safely to drydock for further repairs.
Permanent on-site repairs with new technology
Because of the extent of the damage to the steering gear, drydocking was the only option for this ship. In most cases, however, in-house developed rudder repair techniques allow Hydrex to perform permanent repairs while the vessel remains at anchorage. Cargo operations can continue uninterrupted, saving the owner precious time and money.
Press Release, January 31, 2014