London -- The effective use of a polyurethane/steel-based construction system to extend the life of the decks on older roll-on, roll-off (RoRo) ferries was demonstrated at the end of last year in Venezuela, according to an 11 Feb announcement by the developers of the system, UK-based Intelligent Engineering.
SPS Overlay - a sandwich plate system which uses a polyurethane elastomer between two steel plates - was installed on the 6500-gt Maria Rosario and the 2640-gt Cacica Isabel, which operate between Puerto La Cruz and Margarita Island, off the coast of Venezuela.
IE's SPS Overlay team repaired the vehicle decks of both vessels at the end of 2008, first working on the Maria Rosario, previously the Purbeck owned by Brittany Ferries. This RoRo had already had SPS Overlay applied to a small area beneath the main vehicle elevator in 2002. A further 67 sq.m of SPS Overlay has now been added, at the Venezualan naval shipyard, Dianca (Diques y Astilleros Nacionales CA) in Puerto Cabello, and this links the original SPS with a newly reinstated area at the base of the 80-tonne elevator.
IE said the owner-operator of both vessels, Consolidada de Ferrys (Conferry) then "took the decision to repair the second ferry, Cacica Isabel, while the SPS Overlay team and equipment were on site." Five separate areas of Cacica Isabel's deck, totalling 361 sq.m, were repaired with SPS Overlay as the vessel lay alongside the owner's terminal at Puerto La Cruz.
"These were very effective repairs carried out with minimum disruption," said Conferry's Rafael Antonio Martinez Tovar, in the IE statement. "SPS Overlay has given us the opportunity to extend the lives of both these vessels and ensure their ongoing safe operation in the future," he added.
SPS Overlay project manager Paul Casey added that, "The project is another example of our ability to undertake repairs anywhere."
These latest RoRo repairs follow a string of similar work in northern Europe, said IE, pointing out that a number of ferry operators including DFDS Tor Line, P&O Ferries and Stena Line have used SPS Overlay to repair large areas of steel on ferries and RoRo vessels.
This volume of repeat business "from some of Europe's largest ferry operators clearly demonstrates the simplicity and quality of SPS Overlay repairs," said SPS Overlay director Rob Duffin.