Continuing the story about Queen Mary 2 in Blohm + Voss dry-docks…
4th Visit: Oct 23 to Nov 13, 2008
Dry-docking an ocean liner of the size of Queen Mary 2 is not an affair of a couple of hours. Despite careful planning and timing, things may not go according to plan. The last visit of Queen Mary 2 was announced by Blohm + Vossas follows:
During the night of October 23 to 24, 2008, at about 23.50h, the Queen Mary 2 will be at the entrance of dry dock Elbe 17 to be manoeuvred into the dock. At about 0:50h, October 24, when the tide has reached its highest level, the ocean liner will be floated into the dock.
However, the low tide delayed the docking of the ocean liner by 12 hours. The ship was finally resting on the blocks by early afternoon on the 25th, and only by midnight of the 26th the dock was completely dry.
During the 3 weeks in the docks, extensive exterior and interior work was completed in order to make her fit for service once again for another five years.
Below is a summary of the major works carried out during the 20 days in the dock:
- Major overhaul of the four Mermaid propulsion pods in cooperation with the manufacturer Rolls-Royce
- Routine maintenance of the three bow thrusters
- Routine maintenance and inspection of the four stabilizers
- Renewal of brake linings at the windlasses and inspection of electric motors
- Coating of the hull – about 35,000 l of paint have been applied
- Overhaul of 17 lifeboats and tender boats by the manufacturer Schat-Harding
- Cleaning and inspection of various tanks (fuel tanks, fresh water tanks, grey water tanks, black water tanks) by the classification society
- Completion of various classification work such as overhauling the sea valves
- Painting of 500 of the 1000 balconies
- Inspection and overhaul of life boats (which were removed from the ship for this task)
- Installation of an upgraded radar system on the bridge
- Refurbishment of the Chart Room
- Replacement of worn out carpets in corridors and public rooms
- Upholstery work in the Britannia Restaurant, Royal Court Theatre and Canyon Ranch Spa Club
- Installation of a new internet system by Maritime Telecommunications Network (this included the disconnection of the in-cabin email system)
- Addition of an awning at the forward end of Deck 8 terrace to allow the Todd English restaurant ‘Al Fresco’ dining
- Replacement of the teak decking on Deck 13
- Refurbishment of the Terrace Bar and Regatta Bar
If you are interested in a detailed report on the work I highly recommend the article ‘A look at the work done on QM2 during her 2008 re-fit by Richard H. Wagner’ which is published on the http://www.beyondships.com site . For your convenience I am including the PDF file .
For passengers, the most noticeable change is the refurbishment of the Chart Room which was perceived by many guests as a long corridor draped with some chairs and tables. The room was originally decorated in various shades of brown and though exquisitely fitted it lacked atmosphere. On my first voyage in 2004 I felt this room was uninviting, more like a hall to cross quickly to get from point A to B. It certainly didn’t invite to sit down and relax for a while with a drink and something to nibble.An injection of new and more vibrant colours as well as new seating arrangements in the middle section of the room turned the Chart Room into a public area that deserves its name. On my June 2009 crossing, this room was well attended, full at times and there was not a single day I sat down to chat with other guests or just have a quick drink. I am including the 2 photos from the ‘beyondship’ article .
Another great read is the report from Jeremy Saltonstall, Second Officer, which was published in the We are Cunard’ blog. Below is an excerpt:
In addition to a freshen up of some public areas including the Chart Room we are also installing mobile technology to enable mobile phones to be used whilst at sea. A special coat of extremely high tech paint is also being applied to the ship’s hull – this is a state of the art low friction paint that will enable Queen Mary 2 to slide through the sea with a minimum of effort, thus helping to conserve fuel. Especially important during this time of unpredictable oil prices when there is a greater need than ever to operate efficiently!
Queen Mary 2 has been in service now for five years, and what a life she has had so far. As we departed Southampton for Hamburg on 22nd October we bid farewell to the most famous ocean liner in the world, Queen Elizabeth 2. As we passed her at berth 38/9, there was an exchange of whistles and a lot of emotion. The privilege of sounding the whistles was given to Sheena, one of our housekeepers, who had served on QE2 for many years.
On arrival in Hamburg we waited for the right tide before slowly edging the ship in to Elbe 17 dry dock at the Blohm and Voss repair yard. Once in position the dock gate was closed behind us and it wasn’t long before you could notice the water levels were starting to drop. At 14:00 on 25th October, Queen Mary 2 was confirmed that she was resting on the blocks, where she would stay for 3 weeks. Before all the water had been pumped out of the dry dock, there was a mad rush to get the lifeboats and tenders lowered to the water, sent to the aft end of the dock, lifted over the dock gate, and driven round to another part of the ship yard where they were lifted out again into a large car park to have maintenance carried out on them. By the time we had finished the operation, the water level was already down two thirds of the vessels hull. It was here where you could see the amount of wear and tear that the hull of the ship had experienced. A large coat of fine green seaweed coated the areas just below the water line. As the water level continued to drop, the smell of seaweed dominated the whole area around the ship, the kind of smell that you would normally get when the tide was out in a port. Gangways were connected in various shell doors around the ship and equipment, spare and new parts were already being lifted on board.
It was midnight the next day before the dry dock was completely dry. Queen Mary 2 sat there, looking almost lost without any water around her, in a way like a stranded whale. The next day I went down into the dock bottom to see for myself the condition of the hull. All in all it was in a very good condition, ok it was very dirty, but the coatings were all intact and the amount of seaweed on the flat bottom of the hull was minimal.
We are now well over half way through the dry dock here in Hamburg and I am on the night watch between Midnight and 8am. The weather is cold everyday but the heating has remained on at all times to keep us warm. At night the fog roles up the river and Queen Mary 2 sits quietly in her dock. It’s a spooky scene, especially after just celebrating Halloween, as the fog moves around the ship at night without the sound of the fog horn going, like it would be at sea. Fog is normally an annoying thing for us on the bridge when underway but here in dry dock it’s nice to just watch role on by each night. Each day I walk around I see new items in place, it does seem extremely weird where all the shelves in places like the spa and shops are empty. There are no bottles on the shelves in the bars. All the chairs and deck chairs have been removed, the pools are empty, carpets are covered with protection, most of the elevators are shut down, and half the crew are missing! It’s certainly not what you would call a normal operating ocean liner.
The workers in the shipyard are very friendly and doing a great job in getting the vessel ready for sailing. All the maintenance is going to plan and we hope to be off the blocks and leaving the repair yard bound for Southampton on 13 November with the Cunard Queen looking, like she always does,……..Amazing!
While doing some research on the internet, I came across an article that appeared in the Mirror, ‘Worker kills lover onboard Queen Mary 2 cruise’ which reported an alledged murder aboard QM2 during her stay in the docks. 2 German newspapers, the Hamburger Abendblatt and the Bild, also reported the incident as a fight, in which a filipino crewman attacked and choked his girlfriend in their cabin and that the victim’s injuries were not dangerious to life. Details remains somewhat sketchy.
As usual I will finish my post with a video. Today, I have five videos for you, documenting the docking into Elbe 17. Enjoy and watch out for the 4th and final part!
Part 1 – Preparation
Part 2 – On the way to Elbe 17
Part 3 – Docking 1st attempt
Part 4 – Docking 2nd attempt
Part 5 – Docking successful