Righting Toppled Vessel In Drydock Will Be Complicated, Warns Marine Specialist

Workers encounter a significantly complicated task of righting a vessel that toppled over while it was in drydock, a marine expert mentioned as examinations into the incident go on.

Credit: Evening Standard/YouTube

Two big cranes are placed next to the US Navy vessel named the Petrel, which reportedly tipped to an angle of 45 degrees in the last month, leaving 35 individuals injured. The incident further sparked an emergency service mission at the drydock based in Leith, Edinburgh. The latter is operated by the Dales Marine Services.

Iraklis Lazakis, associated with the University of Strathclyde, mentioned that the two cranes are at the port side of the vessel, but no other specific actions can be speculated on regarding righting the vessel, which he mentioned would be a complicated process.

Police are at the scene. On Thursday, a police car was observed as workers were operating the cranes and moving around the stricken 3,371-ton vessel. The Health and Safety Executive (HSE), as well as the Police Scotland, reported that the investigations into the incident, which took place on 22 March, are in progress.

Dr. Lazakis, associated with the Department of Naval Architecture, Ocean and Marine Engineering, said if the ship needed to be put upright, some aspects needed to be considered, such as the possible damage on the outer hull of the vessel on the starboard side, internal structural impairments or otherwise, transfer of loads internally, and movements of keel blocks owing to the shifting of the vessel.

Another way would be by assessing the structural condition internally and externally and shifting loads, etc., as well as performing repairs needed on the outer hull, repositioning keel blocks in the drydock per the ship’s docking plan, then flooding the drydock slowly and gradually tilting the vessel upright. Overall, this is a complicated process, also considering that the drydock is also used by another vessel.

The 76m-long Petrel was owned by the late Microsoft co-founder Paul Allen, who purchased the vessel to locate historically important shipwrecks and also discovered 30 sunken warships that also include Japan’s Imperial Navy’s IJN Musashi.

In 2022, the Isle of Man-registered vessel was reportedly sold off to the US Navy and was operated by an American-owned major named Oceaneering International.

The Petrel has been moored at Imperial Drydock in Leith since 3 September 3, 2020, owing to several “operational challenges”. About 23 individuals were injured in the accident and were rushed to the hospital, and 12 individuals were treated at the scene.

A Police Scotland spokesman said that the Officers have been working with the Health and Safety Executive. He added that the inquiries are ongoing to establish the circumstances.

In a statement on the Dales Marine Services website, it said it continues liaising with emergency services and relevant authorities in dealing with this incident, and at this time, it can’t share further comments.

Reference: News Chain, Independent

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