A collision involving the three-year-old multipurpose general cargo/container vessel Ems, owned by Werse Schiffahrts of Münster, Germany, recently brought a new customer to Gibdock, the Gibraltar-based ship repair yard.
The 308 ft long, 5500dwt Ems (formerly the Buluklu and Rhone) - delivered in 2007 by the Torgem yard in Turkey - was alongside in the port of Montril, near Almeria, Spain, when the vessel was struck by the bulbous bow of the ferry Ace 2, formerly Euroferry Atlantica, which had broken free from its moorings. Ems was effectively sandwiched between the Ace 2 and the quay wall, and in the process suffered significant damage to both her port and starboard sides.
The rogue vessel’s bulbous bow punctured the Ems’ hull, causing a large 16.5 by 13-ft hole, while significant damage was also caused to the fuel tanks, main deck, cargo hatches, coamings, hatch covers and gangway. One of the fuel tanks was in fact punctured and caused damage to a pipe inside the fuel tank which in turn contaminated the ballast tank. Although not holed on impact against the quay, the port hull shell plating actually incurred a larger area of damage than was caused to the starboard side.
The Ems arrived in Gibraltar in early December and, a thorough inspection of the vessel had been undertaken by the yard together with the owner revealed the full extent of the damage sustained in the incident, after which the process of repairing the stricken vessel commenced. In all, some 22 tonnes of steel was used to repair the hole in the vessel’s side and other work during a 14 day period in Gibdock’s No. 3 drydock. The ship was redelivered on time to the owner, in line with the original specification. On leaving the drydock the Ems remained at the yard for a further period of alongside repairs and maintenance to hatch cover hydraulic systems.
John Taylor of Gibdock said the project highlights the capacity of the yard to carry out intensive repair jobs of this type, allowing the vessel to re-enter service without undue delay. “Our covered Number 3 dock was particularly well suited for this task as it ensured the work could go ahead regardless of the weather conditions.”
The ship owner and manager, Werse Bereederungs, has expressed itself highly satisfied with the work carried out, and has indicated that it plans to bring further vessels to the yard in future. Superintendent, Captain Peter Lodygowski, said, “We recognised that this period before Christmas was a very busy one for everybody but Gibdock promised to get the extensive steel work done before the holiday time and they were true to their word. I can say that the quality of the steel work repairs was excellent, leaving me pleasantly surprised.”
Gibdock has a strong track record repairing vessels of this type trading in the Mediterranean. In 2010, some 125 multi-purpose and container vessels were serviced at the yard.