Questions Loom Over Leaks in HL01-Florence

Monday, April 10, 2006
According to reports, initial inspections have been made without results after HL01-Florence, reported ly the largest vessel ever built in Vietnam, took on water only hours after its launch April 6. Divers of Ha Long Shipbuilding Co. in northern Quang Ninh province on Monday checked the bottom of the 53,000-ton vessel, whose stern sunk slightly after water leaked through its outer hull and flooded half of the fourth among five compartments. A company official predicted that some of the ship’s valves had been negligently left unlocked, causing the leak. But another official said the reason might originate from the rails under the bottom of the vessel, which were used to create momentum for the ship launch. He predicted that many rails could have hit obstacles on the ramp during the launch, crashing against the bottom of the ship, causing the leak. After the launch, many rails were found to be badly deformed. However, an engineer at the state-owned Vietnam Ship Industry Corp. (Vinashin) said inappropriate calculations for the vessel launch could be to blame for the incident. The highly slopped short ramp may have caused the vessel to descend too rapidly into the water, breaching the ship hull and causing the leak. Florence is 190m long, 32.26m wide and has a 64,000cu.m hold, as designed by the Denmark-based Carl Bro Marine Company. The vessel is the first of 21 that Vinashin's Ha Long Shipyard is under contract to build for British Shipping Giant – Graig Investment at a total cost of over $400m. Source: Thanh Nien Daily

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