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Halliday Engineering recently completed emergency repairs on the 132-tonne rudder of a container ship at Port Botany Container Terminal

The thrust bearing that supported the rudder and rudder stock of the container ship failed, meaning that the 132-tonne rudder had to undergo emergency repairs before the ship could get moving again. Time was critical as every day meant increased costs for the charterer.

Halliday Engineering was able to move very quickly, designing and fabricating a custom lifting frame and procuring specialist rigging equipment, so that the repairs could be carried out while the vessel was still in the water and cargo was being offloaded and loaded.

The design work and much of the fabrication for the lifting frame was undertaken in Halliday’s workshop. Halliday’s welders and fabricators then worked with certified riggers around the clock at Port Botany Container Terminal to safely lift and repair the rudder. Find out more about key aspects of the repairs carried out on the container ship below.

Time-critical repairs

This very large job was completed within two weeks. “Prior to commencing works, we weren’t entirely sure of the extent of the damage or the required repairs. We were able to get moving promptly, ascertaining the damage and developing a repair methodology — to be agreed upon with the Ships Superintendent, Owners and Classification Society. We then called upon our range of skilled resources to successfully complete the repairs,” said Jack Bottrell, Project Engineer.

Being time critical, the challenge was to develop a repair methodology approved by a Naval Architect, CLASS and all stakeholders. This included how the rudder was to be lifted uniformly, and safely secured whilst works were carried out below.

Jack Bottrell


Emergency rudder repairs

The container ship requiring repairs was 332m long and 43m wide and capable of carrying 8715 containers (each 20 feet long). The Australian Maritime Safety Authority advised the vessel wasn’t moving until repairs to the 132-tonne rudder were complete.

Fast-paced design of a lifting frame

Halliday Engineering had to react quickly. Delaying a ship of this size, with cargo onboard, was a very big cost to the charterer. Within two days, we had designed a frame capable of lifting the rudder. The following day it was approved for fabrication by our engaged Naval Architect.

CLASS approved fabrication

Our welders and fabricators built a fit-for purpose lifting frame in a very short period of time. We were also required to crop a 3 metre x 3 metre penetration in the deck of the ship to facilitate the lifting of the rudder.  The penetration (including large deck stiffening frames) was later welded back in place in accordance with Class Surveyors’ requirements.

Fast-tracked procurement

We sourced some of Australia’s largest 50-tonne chain blocks and other specialist rigging equipment for the job. This was freighted in from around the country over night. We also organised truck and mobile crane hire for urgent delivery and disposal on site at Port Botany Container Terminal.

Mechanical fitting know-how

We removed, stripped and replaced the thrust bearing that supported the rudder and rudder stock. This involved dismantling the existing bearing carriers, cleaning all components, reassembling with new parts and testing key components, including lubrication systems, to ensure they functioned correctly.

Professional project management

Jack Bottrell was the mechanical engineer overseeing the project — including safety, design, fabrication and repairs, surveyor liaison and management of the site at Port Botany Container Terminal. He ensured the job came in on time and on budget.


Our certified riggers safely lifted the 132 tonne rudder to perform emergency container ship repairs

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