Bow thruster operations in Belgium and Spain

Bow thruster operations in Belgium and Spain

Last month our men performed afloat bow thruster operations on container ships in Belgium and Spain. In Algeciras a thruster was removed on a 306-meter vessel and in Zeebrugge a unit was reinstalled on a 135-meter ship.

All the necessary equipment was mobilized from our Algeciras fast response center for the operation in Spain.

After the team set up a monitoring station, our diver/technicians detached the blades one by one. In the meantime preparations were made in the bow thruster engine room for the underwater removal of the unit to avoid any ingress of water once it was taken out.

The next step was to secure the gearbox with hoisting equipment. The team then disconnected the unit from the bow thruster engine room and lowered it onto a cradle. This cradle was designed especially for such operations. The bow thruster was then brought to the surface.

Simultaneously the team sealed off the tunnel from the bow thruster room. Once the unit was lifted onto the quay it was prepared for transport to the workshop.

Trimmed reinstallation in Zeebrugge

The ship in Zeebrugge could be trimmed enough to raise most of the bow thruster tunnel above the water. This allowed our team to maneuver the thruster unit inside the tunnel with the propeller blades already installed.

Next temporary metal plates were used to seal off the bottom of the tunnel. Our divers could then empty the remaining water and perform the required welding work on the thruster brackets and the tunnel grids in dry conditions.

Putting the customer’s needs first

Ever since Hydrex was founded in 1974 we have strived to keep the impact of our repairs for the owner as minimal as possible.

By performing these thruster operations afloat, our divers made it possible for the owners to keep their vessels out of drydock and avoid downtime.

We worked in shifts around the clock and finished the jobs within the available time frames. This allowed the ships to sail on schedule, which was a key benefit for the customers.


Performing jobs like this requires planning. This can only be done successfully by staff who have familiarity with such operations and have the relevant know-how and equipment.

We can assist shipowners with almost any problem they encounter with their vessel’s thruster. A wide range of underwater repair and maintenance work can be carried out to all types of thrusters. An entire unit can be overhauled, propeller blades or seals can be replaced or repair work on a specific part of a thruster can be performed on-site.



If ever you would encounter a similar situation, give us a call. We can then tell you if the repair is feasible and start working on its handling.

+32 3 213 53 00

Click on the images below for more propeller repairs and other case studies.

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