Refurbishment and Class inspections
The vessel, Queen of Abu Simbel, operates on Lake Nasser in southern Egypt. The vessel will need to be dry docked in order to complete the refurbishment and also to carry out the required Class inspections. The problem is that there are no facilities on Lake Nasser to actually get the keel dry. The client/owner wanted a proposal to “pull” the vessel onto a slipway; however they do not have the expertise to engineer, prepare and execute the operation. This is where Saltwater and our partner for this project, Hebo Maritiemservice, come into play. Saltwater as the name suggests for the engineering and Hebo for the operational aspects.
Travelling to Egypt
In order to assess the situation and carry out initial vessel and site inspections, a team from both Hebo and Saltwater were dispatched to Egypt. The actual inspections took place in Aswan, about a 1,5 hour flight south of Cairo. Travelling there was a bit cumbersome and involved a full day’s layover in Cairo, which actually allowed us a little free time to do some sightseeing. What to do when in Cairo? Actually this was easy; visit the pyramids and Sphinx and then the Egyptian museum. Most of the time there is little or no time for any sightseeing when on-site inspections are to be undertaken, so this was a welcome exception. Anyway, after a pleasurable day in Cairo we headed for Aswan and the work started.
Removing Queen of Abu Simbel from the water
The vessel has been moored along a quayside for several years. The first step was to do an overall inspection to assess the general condition. Subsequently more detailed inspections were undertaken of the hull, various tanks and we tried to define strong points where the actual pulling points could be connected. A draft survey was undertaken in order to determine the current weight of the vessel. Then the proposed docking site was visited to inspect the slipway and determine the possible methods for removing the Queen of Abu Simbel from the water.
Basically two options seemed feasible;
- Docking by means of balloons / airbags
- Docking by means of tracks and trolleys
The balloon/airbag method basically entail pulling/rolling the vessel over a large number of balloons/airbags. The forward balloon is to be located under the forward end of the keel where the vessel touches the slipway in present floating condition. From there the bow of the vessel is pulled up along the slipway and consequently more balloons are added. Various sizes of balloons are utilized to equalize the level difference between vessel and slipway. The critical steps have been calculated and give the load on the balloons, displacement in the water and draughts.
The second alternative would be to build a steel slipway with rails and pull the vessel ashore using trolleys. As the vessel is pulled up the slipway an additional trolley will support the hull allowing for an even distribution of the bending moments.
The current status is that the initial calculations and high-level feasibility studies have been completed. These have been presented to the owner for evaluation and determination of the further course of action.