THE $116million Helios has been repaired and is ready to set sail again.
Yesterday, Industrial and Marine Engineering Limited (IMEL) a subsidiary of Carpenters Fiji floated the superyacht, an exercise that took hours.
Yacht Help Fiji’s David Jamieson said IMEL’s feat had put another feather in Fiji’s cap in superyachting.
“IMEL successfully completed the work, everything went well,” he said. “To be able to repair a $116million superyacht, that is another feather to our cap.”
Yacht Help Fiji also painted part of Helios.
“There were some engineers that were flown in for technical repairs. While our local engineers have great skills, specialists were needed.
“The local engineers worked with them and were able to learn a few things. IMEL was competent in their standard of work.”
Mr Jamieson said Fiji should also market its ship repairing expertise.
He said a superyacht would usually spend 15 per cent of its value on maintenance in a year.
The 59.1metre Helios was accommodated at IMEL’s floating dock which has the capacity to repair ships of up to 3500 tonnes and 76 metres long.
Bought at a cost of $3 million, the floating dock named “Naiqasiqasi” was purchased from Okinawa, Japan in 2007. The cost of repairing the Helios is reportedly over a million dollars, which means the dry dock has proved to be a worthwhile purchase for the company.
At the moment, IMEL is the only company in the country that has the capability to repair big local ships as the Fiji Ships and Heavy Industries can only repair ships of up to 600 tonnes.
The dock has four “pillars” about 27 metres apart and two 12-tonne cranes. Inside the pillars are engine rooms.
Located at the bottom of the pillars are tanks, which like a submarine are filled with water so they can sink and enable a ship coming in for repairs to dock.
Once, the ship is in the dock, divers will push in timbers at the bottom to secure the ship.
Seeing that the ship is secure, water will then be pumped out of the tanks floating the dock and leaving the ship high and dry and ready for repairs.
Elenoa Baselala – Fiji Times