The Magazine for Underwater Professionals

Nov/Dec 2018


Underwater bow thruster removal

Job adapted to container vessel's tight schedule

Bow thruster unit ready for transport to the workshop

Last month a diver/technician team from Belgium-based Hydrex removed a bow thruster from a 300-metre container ship. This was done during a stop in Italy. The unit needed to be overhauled and the operation had to be carried out within a very short window that would fit the tight schedule available to the vessel’s charterer.

Together with all the necessary equipment, the team mobilized from the Antwerp fast response centre to the vessel’s location. After they set up a monitoring station, the divers started the operation with a detailed inspection of the bow thruster unit and tunnel.

They then detached the blades one by one. In the meantime, initial preparations were made in the bow thruster engine room for the removal of the unit so that there would be no 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 thruster operations.

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.

“Performing a job like this on a tight schedule takes a lot of planning,” says Hydrex. “This can only be done successfully by staff who have familiarity with such operations and have the relevant know-how and equipment.”

  • Hydrex diver/technician preparing the bow thruster for removal

Off-hire time causes a substantial loss of money. The teams therefore worked in shifts to perform the bow thruster removal within the shortest possible time frame. “This saved the owner the time and money which going to drydock would have entailed,” according to Hydrex.

The firm adds: “By performing the operation on site and underwater the Hydrex divers made it possible for the owner to keep the vessel out of drydock.

“The team worked in shifts around the clock. They finished the job well within the available time frame. This allowed the ship to sail perfectly on schedule, which was a key benefit for the charterer.”





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