SEPTEMBER 16, 2013 — After springing a leak in its engine room, a 38-year old, mothballed platform supply vessel was within hours of sinking when it was saved by the speedy application of Miko magnetic patches.
A diver's torch shows Miko patch and magnet sealing PSV hull
The vessel is in a Saudi port awaiting disposal by the receivers in a bankruptcy case. Late last month its temporary watch keepers discovered that a leak was flooding the cavernous engine space by the vessel's temporary watch keepers.
The absence of an experienced crew and the lack of on-board lighting or working machinery made the emergency response even more difficult. Subsequent investigation by Algosaibi Diving & Marine Services divers revealed a 12 mm hole in the hull plating directly beneath a generator bed. In the time it took to identify the location of the leak and remove barnacles from the surrounding area the hole had increased in size by a further 5 mm. Restricted access from inside made an external repair the only viable option and this was achieved by the divers who applied a Miko magnetic patch within 30 minutes of arriving on site.
The patch was monitored overnight but unfortunately water was found to be still leaking into the generator bed bay. A further hole was identified so a second, larger, patch had to be fitted as the small salvage pump that had been installed was struggling to cope with the ingress of water.
Things then deteriorated further with the appearance of a crack along a weld in the paper-thin corroded hull plating. The decision was made to temporarily remove the patch and the crack was sealed with Denzo tape and the larger Miko patch was re-fitted which finally sealed the leaks completely some three hours later.
Overnight the bilge beneath the generator was filled with concrete to seal the hull from the inside and although the ship remains in a very fragile condition, this has been successful so far.
On each occasion the two Miko magnetic patches were reinforced by four high power Miko permanent magnets that provided additional adhesion to the hull. A Miko anchor magnet was also used to support the center of the patch to prevent the weakened plating flexing while another served as an anchor for a guide line which was used by the divers to enable speedy access to the work site.
The Miko equipment was supplied by the company's local representative; Algosaibi Diving & Marine Services which claims that on at least eight occasions it has saved ships in the region from possible sinking thanks to the Miko patches. It has also used them to stop oil leaking from ruptured, preventing tons of pollution.
Miko patches can be supplied individually to order or carried in packs that contain a variety of sizes. Salvage Kits and Tanker Kits each contain a range of patches that can provide temporary watertight repairs to hull damage caused by collision, corrosion or some other technical defect. They can also be used to seal damaged tanks to prevent oil escaping. The largest Miko fabric patch made to date measured 30 m x 15 m. Magnetic patches can also be used to seal thruster tunnels and sea chests so that work can be conducted inside without the expense required to put the vessel in dry dock.