Quite often, the true extent of the work required only comes to light during an inspection at the yard, and sometimes turns out to be many times more than was originally expected. As such situations demand a whole new schedule and reorganisation of the necessary resources, flexibility is the order of the day – on the part of the customer and the shipyard. The refit order for the decommissioned frigate ‘Ex-KÖLN’ is a particularly fine example of outstanding and constructive collaboration.
A realistic exercise and training environment
Originally, the main objective of the refit was to provide the students of the German Naval Damage Control Training Centre in Neustadt (Holstein) with an authentic training environment for firefighting and hull rupture scenarios. To enable this, a training system modified to recreate the technical conditions on board the new Class 125 frigates was installed in the exercise and training hulk. In addition to general shipbuilding tasks, the order also included the replacement of 201 tonnes of solid ballast and a structural survey.
Unexpected additional work
Shortly after the vessel’s arrival in the floating dock at the LINDENAU yard, an ultrasonic survey brought some sobering facts to light: the thickness of the hull plates did not meet the official requirements. This meant that almost the entire portion of the hull below the waterline would have to be replaced. In the course of the survey, the decision was also made to remove no longer needed piping around the now redundant transmission, the main engine room and tanks. In order to compensate for the mass removed, a further 35 tonnes of solid ballast had to be procured and added to the solid ballast in addition to the planned original order.
Total commitment leads to success
Due to the additional work, the vessel was laid up at the yard for an extra two and a half months. Thanks to the flexibility and dedication of the team and careful planning of resources, the repair and refitting crew fulfilled their tasks to the complete satisfaction of the customer. On 1.10.2015, the ‘Ex-KÖLN’ was towed back to base in Neustadt by naval tugs.