The Magazine for Underwater Professionals

Nov/Dec 2019


Rudder mends

Hydrex completes rudder repairs in Zeebrugge, Dunkirk and Le Havre

Branching crack on rudder of roro ship

Teams from Belgium-based Hydrex have carried out several rudder repairs on ships in Belgium and France. In all cases cracks were found that needed to be repaired to prevent them from spreading and causing further damage to the rudders. 

The company can perform repairs at anchorage on any type of rudder or while the vessel is berthed. In most cases this can be done without interrupting cargo operations. 

In Zeebrugge, a 230-metre roro ship had suffered cracks on both sides of the rudder flap. On the starboard side a branching crack was found while a single crack was present on the port side. 

“Divers first drilled arrests on all extremities of the cracks to prevent them from spreading,” explains Hydrex. “They then positioned C-shaped plates over the crack arrests and secured these with wet welding.

“This allowed the owner to sail his ship without having to worry about the condition of the rudder. He can have a permanent repair carried out during the ship’s next scheduled drydock visit at a more convenient time and location.” 

On two 229-metre sister bulker ships in Le Havre and Dunkirk respectively, cracks were found on the upper pintle corner of the hinge that connects the rudder flap to the main rudder blade. Fortunately, these cracks could be repaired by grinding them out after a crack arrest had been drilled. The affected area was then filled with clad welding.

  • Crack arrests were drilled on the extremities of the crack

“The cracks on these rudders were spotted during an underwater inspection before they caused problems for the ship,” says Hydrex. “This once again shows the benefits of having regular inspections carried out by competent divers, followed by comprehensive and accurate reports.

“Hydrex teams can detect any problem so that they can be corrected early and prevent the more costly repair which neglect and further damage would bring about.”

  • C-shaped plate welded over the crack





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