In December the rudder of a 250-meter crude oil tanker started showing wrong readings. An inspection uncovered that the rudder was not calibrated correctly and that its movements did not match the readings. The ship was unable to sail any further and an on-site solution was needed. A Hydrex diver/technician team therefore mobilized to Le Havre, France to perform an emergency repair operation.
After arriving, the Hydrex team performed a detailed inspection of the rudder. This revealed that the rudder pintle needed to be removed to perform a permanent repair. The stormy weather conditions in Le Havre could cause the rudder to move, which would make it impossible to reinstall the pintle on-site. For this reason it was decided that the ship needed to be towed to the nearest available drydock, in Brest for permanent repairs. This changed the scope of the work completely. Because our teams are trained to handle challenging and constantly changing circumstances, they adapted to the new task without any problem or delay.
The Hydrex team pulled the rudder to a zero angle. They also took the exact measurements needed to fabricate four securing plates that would fully lock the rudder in the neutral position. Once the plates were delivered, they were modified by the team to the correct size. Next they installed the stiffeners on both sides of the rudder. This would prevent the rudder from moving and causing further damage while the ship was towed.
Upon completion of the operation, the attending surveyor, together with the superintendent and captain of the ship, inspected and approved the repairs. The ship could be towed safely to Brest for permanent 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.
The equipment can be mobilized within hours to any port in the world. This allows Hydrex to offer this service on a worldwide basis. The technique enables engineers, welders and inspectors to perform their tasks in dry conditions with the vessel still afloat. Class approved permanent repairs in-situ are possible. Steel repairs and replacements can be performed and pintle and bushing defects can be remedied without the loss of time and money associated with drydocking.