Diver Training Key to Underwater Vessel Repair
Hydrex Production Executive Dave Bleyenberg explained, “The classification society said to the owner the repair would be more likely to get the green light if we were involved because they knew we had the needed certificates and experience.”
Once Hydrex’s involvement was approved, a small inspection team was flown to Las Palmas to perform a detailed underwater survey. The survey team was able to provide a full appraisal of damage as well as all required measurements needed for the repair.
By the time our main diver/technician team arrived at the site, the initial inspection team and local support base had already secured the necessary equipment and repair materials to expedite the project. The dive team then set about removing the cofferdam that had been installed during the previous attempt to repair the damage. Two doubler plates were then installed over the damaged areas of the flat bottom. These were independently tested to verify the weld integrity and subsequently approved by the classification society.
“The ship had been laying idle for almost two weeks while the first repair attempt was made,” said Bleyenberg. “This delayed the delivery of the cargo, costing everyone involved precious time, money and consequential loss of reputation.
“That we were able to step in and resolve the issue swiftly allowed the owner to sail on to the next destination to unload the cargo without further delay and arrange for permanent repairs in drydock. Getting the job done in the shortest possible time and to the highest standards has been our policy since Hydrex was founded in 1974. Our track record proves that this is not a false claim,” he said.
Commenting on the wide-ranging capabilities of Hydrex diver technicians, Hydrex Sales Officer Steven De Keyzer furthered: “We want to offer the highest quality of service for our customers while at the same time guaranteeing the safety of our divers at all times. To achieve this our diver/technicians are trained and qualified to perform all class-approved repair procedures in even the harshest conditions.”
Whether diver technicians operate from Hydrex’s head office in Antwerp or from one the company’s global repair hubs, all are certified to internationally recognised commercial diver standards. They also receive further in-house training at the Hydrex Diver Training Centre in Antwerp. This state-of-the-art facility features three diving tanks and a workshop for engineering equipment, tools or replacement items for underwater repairs.
“A key aspect of the training focuses on engineering flexibility, said De Keyzer. “Our teams have to respond quickly to problems when they arise, from initial inspections right through to final approval. It is vital that they can respond to any situation.
“Our divers appreciate the commercial importance of keeping a vessel on schedule. Going off-hire for days or even weeks to have underwater repairs carried out or pay an unscheduled visit to a drydock can have substantial financial implications. And that is why we have developed technologies and training standards that ensure we can carry out cost-effective repairs in very little time, to the highest drydock standards.”