Following the successful use of Swansea Dry Docks for the refit and refurbishment of Saga Pearl II, now successfully cruising; work on MV Julia, now plying the Fastnet Ferry Cork-Swansea overnight route; and emergency repair work on the 65m hopper dredger Heron, Harris Pye Group (HPG) has signed a longer lease on Swansea’s Duke of Edinburgh and Prince of Wales dry docks – a move that is attracting interest from a number of shipping lines.

“We are very much ‘open for business’, indeed we dealt with the requirements of UKD Dredging’s Dolphin at the start of May” says the Group’s Managing Director, Mark Prendergast. “We invested heavily to revitalise the dry docks and are firmly committed to ongoing investment in them to enhance the existing facility and continually improve the service to clients.  Their proximity to our UK headquarters and workshops at Barry ensures access to resources and infrastructure for fully supported operations and the ability for fast reaction to changing circumstances – just what is needed for an efficient and effective dry dock service.”

“Our first three docked vessels – a cruise liner, a ferry and a dredger - gave us good early experience of use of the docks,” says Chris David, HPG’s Technical Director, reflecting on the strengths and diverse skills within the Group, which guarantee multi-discipline projects can be undertaken and completed on time, on spec and on budget.

Huge project
“The Saga Pearl II project was a huge one, she was in the dry dock from mid-September 2009 until the first week in March 2010, and clearly showed what we are able to accomplish. In all we had some x00 of our team working on the vessel, and were able to recruit some really good welders, platers and fitters locally, thus bringing employment to the area and boosting the economy in many ways. Working on MV Julia and doing emergency work on the Heron showed different ‘quick turn round’ aspects of our capability.

“Working on UKD Dolphin was our first project under the new agreement,” explains Chris David. “We received a call from UKD on 29 April asking if the dock was available as they were looking for somewhere to carry out an emergency docking of the Dolphin. They had a problem with severe vibration around the aft end of the vessel, and there were concerns that her propeller blades were damaged. The dock was indeed available and prepared over the Early May Bank Holiday weekend. The vessel arrived and was brought into the dock on Sunday 2 May and on the blocks and dry by the Bank Holiday Monday (3 May) ready for work to start the next day.

“It was found that the four propeller blades on the starboard side were severely bent; the owners supplied new blades and these were changed out. With the vessel in the dry dock the opportunity was taken to carry out some other work between the Tuesday and Friday. The crosshead linkages for opening/closing six of the hopper doors were repaired; the dredge pipe flexible gamble was replaced; the dredge pump was opened up by members of the ship’s staff and internal welding repairs were carried out by our team; the leaking dredge valves were opened up and debris removed from the sealing area; and the entire hull was scraped of barnacles and high pressure washed.

“Everything was completed by the early evening of Friday 7 May, the dock was flooded up and the vessel left Swansea on the midnight tide, as requested by the owners, to go straight back into service.”

Two dry docks
The two dry docks can cater for vessels of a variety of sizes and duration of stay. At 204 metres overall length, the Duke of Edinburgh Dock is the larger of the two with clear width at the entrance of 28m, clear width between dock walls of 30.4m, and draught over blocks of 6.5m. The Prince of Wales Dock is 172m in overall dock length with clear width at the entrance of 22.26m and draught over blocks of 7m, so marginally deeper than the Duke of Edinburgh Dock.

HPG is a rapidly expanding global player with main stations in the UK (in Barry), Dubai and Singapore; and offices and repair facilities in Scandinavia, Portugal, Brazil, Bahrain, Indonesia, Malaysia, Japan and Australia, and has active involvement in many key marine and industrial sectors. The Group brings a wide range of skills and strengths to the Dry Docks including:

• Fully accredited in-house QA department
• Large flexible permanent workforce (the Group employs 750+)
• Proven ability to maximise local supply chain
• Project management skills
• A 24/7 global player, the Group typically offers 12/7 shifts
• Extensive steel work experience + fabrication shops and heat treating facilities
• Pipe fitting shops
• High pressure water blasting for hull and tanks
• Hull painting
• Boiler and pressure vessel design, manufacture and installation
• Electrical and control systems
• Refrigeration and HVAC departments
• Outfitting of passenger and crew accommodation
• In-house stainless steel fabrication - specialists in catering and galley installations

“It is important to point out that the dock complex has an accommodation and messing compound for use by ships’ crews when ships’ services are shut down,” says Chris David. “This results in substantial savings on hotel and travelling costs as well as allowing uninterrupted work on board the vessel.”