In the demanding world of shiprepair, companies are constantly faced with requests that are both challenging and demanding. Such was the case when the luxury cruise vessel Infinity had developed a mechanical problem with one of its two 'Mermaid' propulsion units. Although the vessel was sailing without any problems, it was considered prudent to dry-dock it, for a complete examination and repair of the starboard propulsion unit. Carrying out this repair would ensure a continued, trouble free, 2001 Alaska cruise-operating season. This request quickly turned into one of the biggest logistical challenges Victoria Shipyards (VSL) has ever faced.
VSL has the only dry-dock on the West Coast of Canada with the capacity to accommodate the G.T.S Infinity. But the dry-dock was already utilized for the multimillion-dollar refit of the HMCS Protecteur, which had numerous openings cut into the hull to allow access to equipment being removed from its machinery spaces for repair and overhaul. Heavy equipment was also removed from various locations throughout the vessel, causing the ship's stability condition for undocking to be compromised. To correct this condition, additional ballast water was pumped into the ship's cargo tanks to ensure adequate vessel stability, to allow the ship to be safely re-floated.
In addition, work on a Russian fish factory trawler, which was undergoing extensive hull structural steel repairs in the forward section of the dry-dock had to be promptly completed.
Shipyard crews assisted by some owner supplied worldwide specialists worked around the clock to ensure the planned time frames were met. Once the propellers were lifted free, the end covers were removed to allow an examination. It was clear the bearing was showing signs of wear. The old bearing was removed and new bearings were fitted to the unit. Upon completion, the entire system was flushed to remove all foreign particles. When the system was clean the unit was energised and trials were done to ensure correct operation prior to going back into service. However, while the work was completed on the starboard side propulsion motor the owner also decided to replace the bearing on the port unit as a precautionary method. This was deemed an appropriate time to do this exercise. Both units were tested and given a clean bill of health.