Alabama: Fast Response Prevents Time Loss for General Cargo Vessel in Mobile


When oil was leaking from the stern tube seals of a general cargo vessel, Hydrex mobilized a certified diver-technician team to the vessel’s location in Mobile, Alabama, to perform underwater stern tube seal repairs before the ship was transferred to a new chartering party.

Hydrex had already performed a similar operation on one of the customer’s other vessels so he knew that Hydrex has well trained diving teams and knows how to handle this kind of situation without loss of quality or time for the customer. Every Hydrex office has a fast response centre equipped with all the latest facilities, lightweight equipment and tools. These centres are designed specifically to increase speed of service and allow for immediate mobilization to almost anywhere in the world.

Because the U.S. Coast Guard has very strict policies concerning environmental risks, they would not allow the vessel to sail to a different location before the oil leak had been permanently fixed. A team immediately left from the Hydrex office in Clearwater, Tampa, together with the needed equipment, and set up a diving station at the berthing location of the ship.

The operation started with a thorough underwater inspection of the stern tube seal assembly and removal of the rope guard. The split ring was then disconnected and brought to the surface to be cleaned. Next the Hydrex flexible mobdock was installed around the stern tube seal assembly and a dry underwater environment was created in which the diver-technicians could remove the damaged seals one by one and replace them with new ones. After these were bonded the entire assembly was put together again and pressure tests were carried out with positive results. The flexible mobdock was then removed and the rope guard was reinstalled, concluding the repair.

During the operation it became clear that a damaged liner was the cause of the oil leak and would have to be replaced during the next scheduled drydocking of the vessel to prevent a later reoccurrence of the problem.

In order to provide the customer with the fastest possible response, flexibility was essential throughout the entire operation. Every day a ship has to go off hire causes a substantial loss of money. Hydrex was able to perform the repairs in a very tight timeframe and made sure that the new charterer could sail the vessel free of oil leaks.

Source: HYDREX, August 20, 2010;

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