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Tangaroa’s makeover hampered by weather

Photo: Dave Allen / NIWA

Tangaroa’s makeover hampered by weather

The strong wind and rain battering Auckland this week has presented some special challenges for workers trying to paint NIWA’s flagship research vessel Tangaroa while she has been in dry dock.

Tangaroa was taken into dry dock by tug on 26 June for the first time since she had a major refit in Singapore in 2010. The only dry dock capable of accommodating her is at the Devonport Naval Base where demand for docking is at a premium.

NIWA operations manager John Hadfield said it had rained on all but one day during the docking duration. Work has carried on which has presented a number of challenges completing the maintenance programme in the time allotted.

“Fortunately the antifouling paint on the under hull (the part that sits under the water) was in very good condition and required minimal preparation before recoating. However, above the water line, on the topsides, we get marking and minor damage to the coatings from, wharves and scientific gear that is deployed over the side. This requires remedial work to be carried out.
We are still hopeful that weather conditions will allow us to get a full coat on the blue topsides before Tangaroa departs the dock on the 15th July.

“We have had a paint expert from Altex Coatings calling the shots on when we can paint to ensure it bonds and then lasts. If the wind gets up we can’t spray paint and even on a fine day, if there is high humidity we can’t paint.”

The race against the clock may mean some areas of lower priority will be left until a later date.

Meanwhile, a range of other jobs are going on at the same time as the repaint. A new sub-bottom profiler is being fitted to her hull, the ventilation system overhauled and deck space rejigged to enable crew to launch and recover remote underwater vehicles.

The $1m sub-bottom profiler is used to identify and characterise marine sediment layers up to 200m below the sea bed and has been mounted in a pod off the hull. Data generated by the new system, known as the TOPAS PS 18, can be used for such things studying active faults, substrate identification for habitat work, hard-ground identification and canyon studies.

Mr Hadfield says most of the work will be completed on time on Monday and Tangaroa will head back to Wellingtonon Tuesday undertaking a series of trials before heading out on her next voyage into the Tasman Sea.


Images of Tangaroa being painted, welded and generally spruced up in dry dock can be found here:

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