Whilst unloading at a dock in the South West England, damage occurred to two fuel tanks of a bulk handling vessel, which prevented it from sailing. Also, with the two fuel tanks damaged, the vessel was unable to discharge its fuel.
The answer was to move the vessel to a dry dock or carry out in situ repairs. The dry dock option was very expensive and incurred various delay costs for the ship. EDS was asked to look at the problem. After very careful consideration, the company came up with a solution to safely carry out the repairs with the fuel still in place.
This meant constructing a mini reverse coffer dam, usually installed underwater, enabling the hot work to be carried out. Isolations were carried out, and entry into the tank to inspect the damage from within took place. With various obstructions and having to wade through heavy fuel oil, it was not for the light-hearted.
Having located the damage, EDS staff measured the area and were able to cover with a fire-proof casing. Shored up from within the tank, fire-retardant gum was placed around the top of the coffer dam to create a gas seal. An intrinsically safe CCTV system was then installed, where the hot work repairs above were about to take place.
Personnel evacuated the area and fire-fighting equipment was mobilised, with the peace-of-mind television pictures being monitored. A gas axe cut the damaged section out and the surrounding area was closely monitored from above and aided with a thermal imaging camera to highlight any hot spots from within.
Two identical repairs were carried out over a 24-hour period using the same methods. The cost savings were into the hundreds of thousands of pounds; the ship managed to sail from the port within its original window. This safe and successful conclusion was due to proper risk management, experience, and the hard work of everyone involved with the task.