Hull fracture repair—Antarctic: The water is cold but the welding rods are hot.
Diver Technicians of Subsea Global Solutions never plan to see the underside of an expeditionary cruise vessel; especially while it was cruising in the southern Atlantic ocean.
While cruising the southern hemisphere, a fracture was identified below the water line, calling for underwater repairs.
The crew installed temporary measures inboard to maintain the hull integrity until the diver welders of Subsea Global Solutions could arrive on scene. Once a repair location was identified in the vessel’s itinerary the client worked together with the Miami office of Subsea Global Solutions to move the necessary gear and personnel by private charter to the vessels next port of call. Once on scene the welders performed non-destructive testing (Magnetic Particle examination) to identify the extent of the fracture. Once the ends were identified and drill stopped a backing bar was welded outboard of the vessel utilizing “A” class wet welding procedures. Simultaneously the team constructed a sufficiently sized cofferdam to encapsulate the affected area. With the cofferdam installed, the fracture was ground out of the affected shell plate. Magnetic Particle examination was again performed to ensure the entire fracture was removed. Once confirmed, the affected area was welded up. Nondestructive testing was again performed to assure no additional linear indications or defects were present in the repaired area or adjoining shell plate. Once confirmed, the cofferdam was removed. As an additional measure of safety, the backing bar was seal welded to the shell plate from the outboard side using coded wet welder divers. As the member companies of Subsea Global Solutions maintain “A” class hyperbaric wet welding procedures and diver welders coded to these procedures, a consistent and strong weld was applied.
The vessel was returned back to service with no off-hire, loss of a port of call or delay in departure. All work was completed within the vessel’s scheduled port stop.