Index number 50 /Up-to-Date

The RHAI engineering works for repair and upgrading are in their final stages

Almirante Irízar vessel in the dock.

Almirante Irízar vessel in the dock.

The repair and upgrading engineering works for Argentinian Navy’s icebreaker, Almirante Irizar (RHAI in its Spanish acronym), requested to SENER after the fire accident during the Antarctic season, is on its final assembly phase and starting the harbour tests. Currently, SENER has concluded the engineering works and is coordinating, along with the shipyard, the inclining test execution and drawing up the sea trials plan and related protocols. The project, started in 2009, is considered one of the most relevant marine projects in Argentina within the last 25 years.

SENER has developed this work with its FORAN System for marine design and production and in conjunction with Tandanor, the designated shipyard for the construction, and with the Argentinian Navy’s personnel.

As a consequence from the incidences suffered by the ship, 75% of her inner structures (decks, bulkheads and superstructures) located aft from the accommodation area (frame 84) were severe or totally affected. Pipes, fittings and auxiliary equipment, HVAC ducts, cable trays, cables laid and distribution panels located aft from frame 84 were completely destroyed or heavily damaged. All the main and auxiliary diesel generators were also lost, as well as the main and secondary distribution switchboards, and the emergency generator with its console. Meanwhile, the electric propulsion engines and the auxiliary propulsion equipment suffered minor damage, caused by the smoke and high temperatures. The outer shell and wing tanks aft from frame 84, and the accommodation and superstructure fore from frame did not suffer any damage.

In order to have a complete understanding of the magnitude of the project, it must be known that these extensive rebuilding works are far more complex than a new building. The complete project was the conjunction of a general repair of parts not affected by the fire, some ordinary tasks typical from a dry-docking, new structures, piping, ducting, cable trays and some refurbishment for out-of-date equipment and systems.

Furthermore, one of the most challenging aspects for SENER was to set the ship owner requirement of having a classified ship, due to the vast changes that the International Maritime Organization (IMO) and rules have suffered, since 1978, the RHAI’s year of construction. It is to be noticed that the Almirante Irizar is a lot more than a simple icebreaker: she is also a general and refrigerated cargo, liquid cargo, passenger, scientific research, hospital and logistics support vessel, with a hull designed for navigation and ice breaking in Antarctic waters. RHAI also has the capability to run under UMS condition (Unmanned Engine Room), and adds a modern flight deck and a JP1 jet refueling station for helicopter operations from the ship.

The main topics included in this overhaul are as follows:

•Refurbishment and enlargement of the accommodation areas to fit up to 313 people (crew, research personnel and passenger), both for the existing and the new ones.

•Increment of the research area onboard reaching a total of 400 sqm available.

•Increment of the liquid cargo capacity until 650 m3.

•Increment of the cargo hold capacity until 930 t. for dry cargo, 120 m3 for refrigerated cargo, 1,000 drums, 500 gas cylinders and 1,200 m3 of different cargo types.

•Classification, class marks and certificates according to Det Norske Veritas requirements, IMO (MARPOL – SOLAS) requirements and the Antarctic Treaty and the Madrid Protocol, in force at the time the ship repair started.

•Structural analysis using Finite Elements Model (FEM) and engineering processes during the dismantling of the damaged parts while in floating condition, with deformation analysis through strain gauges.

And all the above under the constraints from the economic parameters and the shipyard building and strategic limitations.


Moving one block of the Almirante Irízar. Moving one block of the Almirante Irízar.

Copyright SENER 2018