The 202-metre-long cruise ship AIDAvita experienced problems with the port side stabilizer unit, which needed to be replaced. At the time, the 42,289 GT vessel was cruising the Canary Islands and her schedule was fully booked. AIDA decided to contact Trident for a solution.
Trident, acquired by Wärtsilä in December 2017, provides innovative underwater services, specialising in propulsion, hull and machinery repair, as well as overhauls and maintenance. “As we had already used Trident’s services for many years, we asked them to do a feasibility study, which showed that the replacement of the stabilizer could be done without dry-docking,” says Mr Schult.
World’s first successful underwater stabilizer exchange
New procedures were developed together with the stabilizer manufacturer for this challenging project and every step was analysed and prepared in detail to ensure the timely and safe replacement of the fin.
The work was done when the vessel was alongside the cruise terminal in the Canary Islands. The whole replacement operation took approximately two and a half days without affecting the cruise schedule. Project managers from both sides ensured a smooth project execution. “Thanks to the detailed and thorough project plan that had taken potential obstacles into consideration, the project could be done without any challenges,” says Mr Schult.
A milestone in the repair business
The new stabilizers are functioning well, and AIDAvita can continue to provide its services to cruise guests. Thanks to the underwater repair, the cruise schedule was not interrupted, which was something that an unplanned visit to a dry dock would have caused. “This was a true example of a win-win situation. Our business could continue uninterrupted and Trident made their first ever underwater stabilizer replacement.”
Mr Michael Schult claims that this underwater replacement proves it is doable also on bigger ships, making it a milestone both for cruise operators and Wärtsilä. “The number of cruise guests keep growing along with the size of the cruise ships. A cruise operator cannot afford unplanned repairs, which would cause income losses and a bad reputation. So, I recommend investigating the possibility of an underwater repair.”