To minimise time spent out of service, hull repairs to 138,000-m3 LNG carrier Methane Princess were carried out at France’s Damen Shiprepair Brest while the vessel was both afloat and with the cargo tanks holding either some liquefied gas or gas vapour.
The hull damage, which occurred above the waterline on the aft starboard side, was the result of a collision with a harbour tug while berthing at the Punta Europa LNG Terminal in Equatorial Guinea. Following the collision, Methane Princess proceeded to the Milford Haven (UK) LNG terminal to offload its cargo.
Class society DNV GL required immediate repairs and issued an extension to the LNG carrier’s class certificate, making it ineligible for charter until the damage was repaired.
To get the ship back into service quickly, shipowner Golar LNG requested that Damen Shiprepair Brest (DSBr) perform the hot work repairs with the vessel afloat and with residual gas in the tanks to keep them cool. By doing so, the vessel could return to work almost immediately without the usual three- to four-day cooling down process needed for its cryogenic cargo.
Meetings were held between Golar LNG and DSBr ahead of the ship’s arrival to prepare safety and control procedures. Once Methane Princess was alongside, several controls were performed by a shore-certified chemist to identify risk areas and certify that the hot work area was safe before starting. The yard team then constructed a platform against the side of the vessel, held in place by eyes welded on to the hull, and the work went ahead to remove and replace the damaged steel. Once the welding, necessary tests and certification by class were completed, the hull area was painted.
This was not the first visit by Methane Princess to DSBr. Last September, the ship was at the yard for a scheduled intermediate survey that included a full scope of work on the engines, cargo tanks and related equipment.
Another Golar LNG carrier, Golar Arctic, is booked at DSBr for H1 2019.