Shearwater Marine Services (Shearwater) successfully completed an in-water repair of the Port Rudder Ram on a naval vessel, a first-of-its-kind accomplishment. The initial plan to use a Rudder Cofferdam for dry access was not feasible, leading to the development of a collaborative and innovative solution involving multiple diving teams and stakeholders. The repair was completed in a challenging environment, with meticulous planning and execution, ultimately finishing only two days over the scheduled timeline.
In February 2020, an issue with the hydraulic system of a naval vessel's rudder was discovered, resulting in sea water contamination. The initial plan was to investigate this defect using a Rudder Cofferdam, however this could not be fitted successfully. Shearwater developed an alternative solution that involved diver entry into the Aft Free Flood Space (AFFS), a .
The challenge was to carry out the in-water repair of the Port Rudder Ram, given that the Rudder Cofferdam could not be fitted. The repair involved a series of complex tasks that had never been conducted in-water before, requiring innovative solutions, meticulous planning, and collaboration across various stakeholders.
SMS and its partners developed a first-of-its-kind in-water repair solution, which included the following key steps:
1. Investigation and repair timeline: From December 2020 to July 2021, Shearwater carried out various activities, including ROV and diver entry, hydraulic leak detection and repair, in-water repair of the Port Rudder Ram, sourcing a replacement Rudder Ram, and successful pressure testing after the repair.
2. Repair methodology: The repair process involved removing the defective Ram, workshop activities to prepare the new Ram, and fitting the replacement Ram.
3. Collaboration: The success of the repair was possible due to the involvement of various stakeholders, including Shearwater, BAE Systems, Babcock Whetstone, PSM/PSO, Clyde Diving, Design Authority, Fleet Programmes, Fleet Engineering, Fleet Compliance, Fgen/Navyops, and Clyde Lift Plans.
Shearwater successfully completed the in-water repair of the Port Rudder Ram, overcoming numerous challenges, such as:
• Ram internal slinging within the AFFS
• Slinging of Rudder Ram in/out of the AFFS
• Tiller Pin Nut removal
• Pilgrim Nuts removal
• Hydraulic Swagelok connections
• Fitting of Bearing Top Hats to the new Ram
• Strength Testing of eye bolts and cleats within the AFFS
Shearwater Marine Services demonstrated exceptional expertise, dedication, and innovation in completing this first-ever in-water repair of the Port Rudder Ram. By working closely with multiple stakeholders and diving teams, and overcoming numerous challenges, Shearwater delivered a successful repair that was only two days over the scheduled timeline. This case study showcases the capabilities of Shearwater in providing innovative and effective solutions in challenging environments.