The maritime industry has several services for the maintenance of ships, among which are those that are performed underwater because of the size of vessels with dimensions that are not easy to be repaired in another environment, because of time, costs, etc. In addition, trained commercial diving personnel are required to perform underwater welding services.
Among the underwater services you can find hull cleaning, polishing, repairs, surveys, certifications and welding. The latter is very important because if the ship does not have an optimum weld it can be affected the whole structure and therefore have a malfunction.
Proper maintenance of ships can reduce fouling which increases fuel consumption and cleaning in turn helps to lower the costs associated with propulsion efficiency. The underwater welding and cutting service has to be performed by certified divers who follow international standards and perform wet welding, temporary and permanent repairs as well as installations.
At present underwater welding has been developed and improved significantly with the arrival of new electrodes and with the application of new techniques. This coupled with new generation equipment and power sources has resulted in quality service.
Underwater welding dates back to World War II where it was used for repairing ships and ports. It then had a boost in the 1960s with the oil industry on the high seas, where not only was this technique used on ships, but also pipelines and pipes underwater.
Underwater welding can be performed in two ways:
- Hyperbaric welding: this is done inside a chamber sealed on the work piece and contains a mixture of helium gas and oxygen with a pressure equal to or greater than the absolute where the welding is performed.
- Underwater wet welding: this is done without any enclosure under pressure, it is in direct contact with water. The process is the protected arc or by electrode. At present it is the most used method because the cost is lower by the use of smaller number of special devices.
Both techniques must be done by certified professionals to ensure a quality work that does not damage the ship. The realization of some repairs will depend on what is needed at the moment. There are trained companies that offer these underwater services that take your divers to the ship’s location. This type of services does not affect maritime life, even though light may attract plankton, will not cause damage.
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