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Propeller damage


A 929-foot-long LNG carrier, while at anchorage in front of Singapore, waiting for Charterers instructions, hit against the buoy named Balok, sustaining damage to her propeller blades. After underwater temporary repairs and successful sea trials, the vessel sailed for her load port at midnight with her class granted by attending class surveyor, pending the recommendation to repair the propeller within next scheduled dry-dock.

Vessel performed her normal commercial operations for the subsequent 6 months, when, during sea passage in laden condition between Port Fortin, Trinidad, and Quintero, Chile, after cleared out of Magellan Strait, faced astern vibration and tightness issues with the stern tube seal with water ingress into first two seal chambers. Further underwater temporary repairs were carried out in Talcahuano and, on completion, after sea trials and NDTs, class surveyor granted again vessel class pending the recommendation to replace the propeller, at this stage unrepairable, prior to credit the next dry-docking survey which will become overdue in five months.

Under the circumstances, Owners was forced to move the vessel from Talcahuano to Singapore where their own spare propeller had been already shipped from USA, due to the average speed reached during the trials was below the minimum c/p requirement and, therefore, charterers advised Owners that they would have put the vessel off-hire until completion of permanent repairs. Bunker operation was completed at Valparaiso and the vessel sailed bound for Singapore. Vessel was docked and replacement of the propeller was performed.

The cause of the first event, and consequently of the damages suffered by the vessel propeller blades following the impact with Balok buoy, was identified in crew negligence failing to properly evaluate the presence of strong current, the position of the buoy and the circumstances which the vessel was in. during first temporary repair carried out at Singapore anchorage, the cutting diving operator either caused or did not remove latent crack in way of blade “A” resulting in a trigger which ran over
the blade, during vessel navigation, and finally detached part of it.

The total amount for the repairs was about USD 5,000,000.