Propeller blade removal and reinstallation keeps ship out of drydock

An oil tanker needed its four propeller blades overhauled during a stop in Ghent, Belgium. Hydrex therefore sent a team to the vessel’s location to remove the blades on-site and reinstall them when they returned from the workshop.

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The team traveled from the company’s headquarters in Antwerp with trucks and the required equipment. A large stock of state-of-the-art tools is ready at all times in the Hydrex fast response center, so mobilization to any type of operation can be almost immediately.

The operation was carried out while the vessel was alongside and trimmed so that the blades could be surfaced one by one. The men started the repair with the installation of chain blocks to rig the first blade. They then removed the blade bolts and lifted the blade. A blind flange was installed to prevent water ingress during the overhaul. The ship crew then turned the propeller 90° to surface the second blade. The Hydrex technicians repeated the same procedure on this blade, followed by the third and fourth blade.

While the blades were transported to the workshop and overhauled, the team carried out several other operations on the vessel. A full inspection of the propeller hub was done, as well as an inspection of the blade carriers and the propeller shaft. They also installed anodes on the rudder. By combining these operations, time between the removal and reinstallation was used as efficiently as possible.

When the blades arrived back on location, they were installed using the reverse procedure. The operation was finished swiftly to enable the owner to sail his ship with only the bare minimum of delay. No costly drydock visit had to be planned.

Emergency blade seal replacement in Togo

Removing one or more propeller blades is not only needed when they have to be repaired. It also allows Hydrex teams to perform other work on the propeller while the vessel stays afloat. This was the case in Lome, Togo.

Oil was leaking from one of the blades of the propeller of a 210-meter roro ship. The vessel could not use its propeller anymore and the blade seal needed to be replaced. A fast and on-site solution was essential in keeping the ship on schedule. Hydrex therefore mobilized a team to the ship’s location in Port of Lome, Togo to perform emergency repairs.

Seven of the eight blade bolts were easily removed, but the last bolt was firmly stuck. It could only be removed by cutting it with the aid of special equipment. The propeller blade was then lifted and the damaged blade seal was replaced with a new one. After the new seal was installed the blade was repositioned and the bolts were secured again.

A successful oil pressure test and an underwater inspection of the entire propeller were performed, concluding the repair. With the oil leak repaired the vessel was able to leave Lome with a working propeller. The owner could keep to the sailing schedule without any delay.