Author Topic: Re: QE2 Superstructure Repairs  (Read 503 times)

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Online Michael Gallagher

Re: QE2 Superstructure Repairs
« on: Nov 14, 2017, 07:42 AM »
Aluminium Structure Cracks discovered during Re-Engining

As the re-engining work progressed through November 1986 several cracks were discovered in the aluminium superstructure which threatened to cause a major delay in the completion of the hotel side of the conversion. Many unforeseen items often arise during conversions of any sort but cracks in the structure were unforeseen.

During the 17 years the ship had already been in service, the superstructure was beginning to show signs of fatigue from alternate function as a load- and stress-bearing element, counterpart of the hull. The aluminium alloy had weakened and cracked in the extension joint (major cracks) as well as cracking due to deficient workmanship (secondary repair) and cracks associated with heavy weather damage - particularly around window areas from the corners of the forward and aft large Quarter and Upper Deck windows, where bending and twisting strains of the ship’s movement had the greatest effect. While, to some degree, these stresses were anticipated in the spacing of large opening fore and aft of the web frames and in their shape with widely rounded corners and bowed edges top and bottom, sustained seasonal transatlantic service had apparently taken a greater toll than perhaps anticipated. In fact QE2 had experienced several major storms in 1984 and 1985 with heavy weather damage and fractures in the structure being the norm.

In all the cracks resulted in major aluminium repairs having to take place throughout the ship which impacted the hotel outfitting.

The shipyard undertook to produce a quotation for the repair work while two architects began work on detailed drawings all having to be approved by Lloyds. It was Cunard’s intention to return QE2 back to at least as strong as when the ship was built but that would be dependent on the results of the analysis undertaken.

Lloyd Werft agreed to undertake the repairs in January 1987 in a separate Contract to that of the re-engining one that had been signed on 24 October 1984.

This work would form part of Addendum 2 to Conversion Contract and the terms included:

•   Despite being committed to redelivering QE2 on 25 April 1987 as per the Contract, Lloyd Werft would receive £2.5 million (DM 6.75 million) and be provided with four days grace for the completion of minor works and final cleaning for a specified list of hotel work that was directly affected by crack repair.

•   Should the hotel work which was the subject of Addendum 2 not be completed by 29 April 1987, then liquidated damages would commence.

•   Since the shipyard had been held to maintaining the 25 April 1987 deadline to redeliver the vessel for the completion of all other contract work (not Addendum 2 work), then late delivery in these areas would result in commencement of the liquidated damages as per the original contract.

•   Any liquidated damages, drawn down on the first letter of credit, would not take place earlier than five days after redelivery.

The full extent of the crack repairs were agreed by Cunard and Lloyd Werft by 23 January 1987. In all the repairs would cost £4.4 million – a sum that included the shipyard effort alone and not the costs of surveyors’ fees, additional services required by the shipyard nor the vast sums that would have been required if the ship had to have been taken out of service specifically for crack repair work. In fact it was estimated that if the ship had to have been withdrawn from service for repair than a three to four month period would have been required for those repairs which would have resulted in total repair costs plus loss of revenue in multiples of the £4.4 million – plus damage to reputation.

A large part of the crack damage was deemed to have occurred during three separate heavy weather incidents which had already been the subject of claims with respect to hull and machinery as well as passage money insurance. These claims totalled £3.8 million (hull and machinery) and £2.5 million (passage money) and had been made in December 1984, September 1985 and October 1986.

Cracks were mainly found:

•   Extensive cracks were discovered in the Tables of the World Restaurant on the Upper Deck floor and in the expansion joint section stretching through Upper and Boat Decks. In addition, all the windows had to be replaced.

•   Queens Grill Lounge and, to a lesser extent, the Queens Grill.

•   Queens Grill Kitchen – work in the kitchen was severely impacted by the need to repair cracks.

•   The Double Down area - but these cracks appeared to be older cracks and repairs began in early January 1987.

•   Major cracks were discovered on Boat Deck.

•   Window fractures throughout Upper and Quarter Decks.

•   Window fractures in the existing Penthouse windows were discovered in late December which required nine doors and 10 windows being repaired. (In total there were 14 fractures covered by 10 inserts – some inserts covering two fractures. Three window frames were cracked and had to be replaced while six window frames were leaking and had to be retightened by the ship’s carpenters. Luckily the fractures in the door frames were minor). These cracks were thought to be the result of heavy weather damage.

•   Club Lido.

•   Boat Deck area near Shopping Promenade extension.

A proposal to retrofit expansion joints in the superstructure shell was ruled out, with the damaged plating being reinforced and new windows fitted, adding about 60 tons of alloy.

The outfitting work in areas affected by cracks would be completed during the sea trials in April.


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