Bow thruster replacement in stages keeps cruise vessel on schedule

Bow thruster replacement in stages keeps cruise vessel on schedule

A 208-meter cruise vessel sailing in the Caribbean suffered steering problems after one of its two thrusters malfunctioned. Having to depend on a tug every time the ship berthed would quickly become very expensive. Going off-schedule, however, to have the bow thruster replaced would cost the owner both money and reputation. A solution was therefore needed that could be carried out on-site without interrupting the vessel’s schedule. Enter our tried and tested flexible mobdock technique and our experienced diver/technicians.

There was only a time frame of eight hours at each port of call during the ship’s cruise in the Caribbean. It was therefore important that the operation was split up in parts that could be finished before the vessel had to leave again. A perfect planning and constant communication between our technical department in the office and our team on location was essential in achieving this.

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

Performing operations afloat and underwater is a very important factor in doing this. Over the years we have developed techniques to perform on-site repairs to every part of the underwater ship. From damaged hulls, over leaking seals and deformed propeller blades to malfunctioning thrusters, we have a repair solution that avoids unscheduled drydock visits.

Carrying out repairs on-site alone is off course not enough. Not only can our teams perform all operations afloat, they do this in the fastest possible time and to drydock standards. Hydrex offers solutions to a wide range of underwater problems without sacrificing the high quality or safety standards we are known for.

Sometimes a very straightforward repair is needed. In other cases a specific, tailor-made solution is designed by our R&D department. In the case of the cruise vessel in the Caribbean the repair itself was one our teams had done on many occasions, but the ship’s time table was the tricky part. Because of the nature of the vessel, its strict schedule included many short stops. Our technical department therefore proposed a scope of work that would allow us the perform the replacement in stages in several different ports.

Our diver/technician teams have performed repairs in phases on numerous occasions. Examples of this include another recent bow thruster operation, carried out in France and the Netherlands, and an underwater stern tube seal replacement on a cruise vessel sailing back and forth between Turkey and Greece.

Time is of the essence
The removal of the bow thruster blades and the unit was done in the wet. The installation of the new bow thruster in the next port needed to be done in the dry to avoid water ingress into the unit. This was done with our flexible mobdocks.

The mobdock technology was developed by Hydrex in-house and is used to close off a thruster tunnel. Mobdock is short for ‘Mobile mini drydock’ because they enable our diver/technicians to create a dry environment to work in while the vessel stays afloat. These mobdocks have been used during thruster operations for over 20 years now. Initially rigid mobdocks were used, but later a lightweight flexible variant was designed and put in use. These can be shipped to anywhere in the world by plane very fast.

We can assist shipowners with almost any problem they encounter with their vessel’s thruster. A wide range of underwater repair or 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 by Hydrex diver/technicians on site.

Our team members are trained to be flexible and adapt to rapidly changing circumstances. They worked in shifts around the clock and finished the job as fast as possible. By performing the operation in steps on-site and underwater, Hydrex made it possible for the owner of the cruise vessel to stick to his schedule.

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