Last month Hydrex 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 the company’s fast response center in Algeciras for the operation in Spain.
After the team set up a monitoring station, the 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 they 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 Hydrex 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. The 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 they have strived to keep the impact of repairs for the owner as minimal as possible. By performing these thruster operations afloat, their divers made it possible for the owners to keep their vessels out of drydock and avoid downtime. They 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.