Wednesday, May 8, 2019

Marine Engineering Group Supplies the Technology to Preserve a Piece of Maritime History

Last Surviving Ship of its Type Protected by High Tech Gasket
Shipping News Feature
FINLAND – IN 1957, after 70 years of service, the four masted steel merchant barque Pommern was retired from the sea to take pride of place at the Mariehamn Maritime Museum in the Åland Islands. Now the only vessel left in the world of its type, its refurbishment demanded some special attention and the first consideration was to commission a purpose built dry dock which required some bespoke engineering.

The dry dock was constructed by EE Engineering which tasked Swedish maritime solutions specialist Trelleborg to provide a purpose-built leak-free alternative to a standard D-fender in order to guarantee a complete seal. The option chosen was the Gina gasket. Only one of this type of gasket is required as opposed to several gaskets needed in the D-fender to obtain the same result as the smaller Gina gasket.

In addition to this, Trelleborg also supplied its low friction, wear resistant UHMW-PE fender panels, which guide the floating dry dock door into its recess before the Gina gasket is compressed and closes off the dry dock. Emil Engblom, CEO at EE Engineering, commented:

“The Pommern is widely considered a symbol for Mariehamn and its maritime heritage. Therefore, there has been significant investment in the ship’s refurbishment and preservation. Central to that plan is the construction of a dry dock to safely and effectively moor the ship at the western harbour of Mariehamn. It was imperative that a manufacturer was specified that could provide a solution, with a proven track record, to successfully seal the dry dock door. Trelleborg approached the challenge head-on and proved to be a very experienced and trustworthy partner.”

To seal the dry dock door, the Gina gasket is made from natural rubber combined with various levels of hardness to accommodate for the variation in hydrostatic pressure and is supplied as a U- frame. The fender panels were faced with Trelleborg's ultra-high molecular weight polyethylene UHMW-PE, which combine very low friction with excellent impact strength and a wear resistance superior to that of steel. Richard Hepworth, President of Trelleborg’s marine and infrastructure operation, commented:

“Our custom Gina gasket provided the ideal solution as it ensured a watertight closure, greater tolerance bandwidth and low jacking force due to its various levels of hardness. It also facilitated less fixation materials on the dry dock door and offered a simple, hassle-free installation process.”