After a successful bow thruster installation earlier this year, UPE was called in once more by the customer for a bow thruster exchange operation in Marseille.
As part of the preparations, a UPE-service team boarded the cruise ship in Marseille for a detailed pre-survey and discuss the operation with all parties involved.Knowing the vessel was booked with passengers and had to keep up with a tight Mediterranean ports call rotation schedule, a detailed plan was worked out to use the available port call time as efficient as possible.
UPE’s operational department, with its corporate Holland Diving Int’l submitted a detailed workplan according the provided rotation schedule. Sufficient qualified personnel and equipment was mobilized from the workshops to location.
Minutes after the vessel’s berthing at the cruise terminal, an underwater and an inboard team prepared all relevant equipment on site. A team consisting of UPE and APS (Atlantic Propulsion Services, an AEGIR-Marine partner) technicians started with preparations for installing a prefabricated cofferdam inside the bow thruster room. This special cofferdam is required to be installed covering the thruster drive shaft opening preventing water ingress during lowering of the thruster unit.
Simultaneously, the underwater team removed the tunnel grids, welded sufficient number of pad eyes and hooked up the hoisting equipment inside the tunnel. Special tools for safe removal of the thruster unit were provided by the maker and installed.During the following port calls the unit was lowered inside the tunnel, transported to the outboard side and hoisted on shore for transfer to a workshop. A blind flange covering the thruster well opening was installed and secured allowing the vessel to continue its sailing schedule. Prior arrival of the new thruster unit, the dive and inboard teams made all preparations for installing the new unit in a safe and efficient way.
After installing the inside cofferdam, the blind flange was lowered and hoisted on surface. The replacement unit was prepared for wet installation, submersed and transferred inside the tunnel. With the use of chain hoists and chain levers two dive techs lifted the thruster unit in position monitored by live video footage. Once in place and checked, the inside cofferdam was removed and flange bolts installed, torqued and secured.At the same time the thruster stay plate was positioned, bolted on the unit and welded on the tunnel plating.The APS- technician installed the oil piping & connections and drive shaft coupling for testing. The tunnel grids were re-positioned and secured by means of wet welding.Another high-end operation safely executed keeping the vessel on schedule at all times.
Thanks to everyone involved (UPE/APS/AEGIR-Marine/Holland Diving/port agent/Kongsberg) and special thanks to our customer and the ship’s crew & staff who did everything within their power to make this a mutual success.