The Sand Heron is in effect a floating factory. She is a dredger vessel that collects, processes and delivers sand from the ocean floor to our sand wharfs. This vessel has been responsible for the delivery of 1,027,000.00 tons of Aggregate during the year of 2016 and as can be understood, this does take its toll on all of her machinery.
The floating refit took place within Southampton docks at the repair berth, quay 49 which is adjacent to the new Ocean Cruise Terminal. Here the bright glow of party lights from vessels such as the QE2 and MV Britannia were replaced by the sound of heavy hammers and sparks from welding machines.
This refit was the first of its kind for CEMEX Marine, the idea being to cut down on lost time with the ship being out of service. A usual refit involves work loss on either side of the down time with travel times to and from the refit venue. As the ship is usually based on the south coast of England the port of Southampton made for a good choice. The key contractor chosen for this refit was a company called IME Fabrication, a contractor that has built up a healthy working relationship with CEMEX and one that also shares the same work and safety ethos as we do.
Work commenced on Monday morning 24th July and was completed, with the vessel ready to sail, on the afternoon of Thursday10th August. This was three days ahead of the proposed three week repair schedule – a big congratulations to IME Fabrication and the teams onboard the vessel. IME adapted quickly to all requirements and changing circumstances, the weather being one with some of the wettest days recorded over the past five years.
As with all refit periods there were trying times and due to the quick action of all involved, LTIs were kept to ZERO. When we consider the stats; with 20 contractors present, over 100 inductions and 9,900 work hours involved, that is a result! Positive feedback was received from various individuals, one in particular coming from the Lloyds Surveyor who reported that the safety onboard the Sand Heron was positive and re-assuring, particularly with regard to confined space entry and evacuation arrangements. This is credit to all involved and another big thanks to the CEMEX teams.
The Sand Heron is now back in action and earning her keep, another million odd tons of Aggregate later and we will not be shy to shake the hand of IME fabrication again.