Category Archives: Corrosion

Austal defends work after corrosion reports surface

Austal Ltd. defended its work in response to earlier reports of corrosion issues on the first littoral combat ship built at the company’s Mobile shipyard.

The Australia-based company’s chief executive officer, Andrew Bellamy, told the Sydney Morning-Herald that any corrosion on U.S.S. Independence was the fault of whoever is operating and maintaining it.

“We have built 230 vessels of this type that have not suffered from this type of problem … where the operator and the maintainer of the ship have followed the procedures in a thorough way,” Bellamy told the newspaper. “I suspect there is a problem in the area of operational maintenance if there is a galvanic corrosion issue.”

Bellamy told the newspaper that the issue was a “storm in a teacup” and unlikely to threaten Austral’s contract with the U.S. Navy to build more of the speedy, shallow-water combat ships.

The Navy did not immediately respond to questions today about Independence’s maintenance.

Austal on Friday confirmed media reports that Independence experienced “galvanic corrosion” in its propulsion system.

Chris Johnson, a Navy spokesman said in a written statement Sunday that the Navy blamed the corrosion issue on dissimilar metals used in the ship’s construction.

Austal specializes in aluminum-hulled ships, while the Navy has traditionally bought steel ships.

The problem was discovered in 2010, before the ship was delivered to the Navy, said Jim DeMartini, a spokesman for Maine-based Bath Iron Works. Bath is the prime contractor for the first two littoral combat ships built at Austal, Independence and Coronado, which is set for delivery in summer 2012.

Austal in December won a $3.6 billion contract to act as the prime contractor building 10 more littoral combat ships.

Johnson said that the Navy in 2010 started developing both short- and long-term fixes to the problem. The service will, by the end of July, install “doubler plates” around portions of the Independence propulsion system, which will make it safe to operate in the near future, he said.

Next year, when the ship is dry-docked, the Navy will install a cathodic protection system as a long-term fix to the corrosion problem, Johnson said.

Such an anti-corrosion system is going to be added to Coronado before it is launched, Johnson said. And Austal included the protection system in its prime contracting bid, so no changes to the design of those ships need to be made, Johnson said.

Austal is Mobile’s largest industrial employer with about 2,200 workers at its Mobile River shipyard. It expects to nearly double that number in the next few years as it ramps up construction of both littoral combat ships and high-speed transport ships for the Navy.

In a written statement issued today, Austal officials said the company is “intimately familiar” with how to properly deal with galvanic corrosion. If Austal is chosen by the Navy to provide post-delivery support for its aluminum littoral combat ships, it will be “a straight-forward process” for the company’s engineers to handle such upkeep. Austal said that it has six maintenance hubs worldwide that can handle the work.

“An integral part of any post-delivery support program for a high-performance, high-speed vessel .¤.¤. is to provide a cadre of qualified maintainers who can help our Navy partners,” the statement read in part.

Austal’s statement also said the company wants to be included in the investigation of the corrosion, but has not yet been involved in that process.

SOURCE: http://blog.al.com/live/2011/06/austal_defends_work_after_corr.html

Navy Finds ‘Aggressive’ Corrosion on New Ship

The U.S. Navy has discovered “aggressive” corrosion in Austal Ltd. (ASB)’s first new combat ship designed for operating close to shore.

The corrosion is in the propulsion areas of the USS Independence, the Littoral Combat Ship built by the Mobile, Alabama-based subsidiary of Australia’s Austal and General Dynamics Corp. (GD)

“This could be a very serious setback,” said Norman Polmar, an independent naval analyst and author in Alexandria, Virginia. “If the ship develops a serious flaw, you’re not going to continue producing them.”

Permanent repair will require drydocking the ship and removing its “water jets,” a key component of the propulsion system, the Navy said in a written statement to congressional appropriations committees provided to Bloomberg News.

Aluminum-hulled ships such as Austal’s tend to rust faster than steel-hulled ships, Polmar said. “But I’m surprised it happened so early,” he said. “This ship is brand new.”

The corrosion discovery in a ship that was commissioned in January 2010 marks another blow to the Littoral Combat Ship program, planned to ultimately consist of 55 ships. In February, the Navy discovered another ship in the series, from another construction team, had a crack through the hull.

Close to Shore
The Littoral Combat ships are designed to operate closer to shore than the rest of the Navy’s surface fleet. They would make up about 17 percent of the Navy’s planned 313-ship fleet. Missions include clearing mines, hunting submarines and providing humanitarian relief.

The Navy in December awarded contracts for as many as 10 Littoral Combat ships to each of two teams of builders, led by Lockheed Martin Corp. (LMT) and Austal.

Austal won a $465 million contract that could reach as much as $3.78 billion if all options are exercised, the Navy announcement said. Building all 55 ships will cost the Navy at least $37.4 billion, according to a Pentagon report released in April.

Officials were concerned about the potential for corrosion during construction of the ship because of “dissimilar metals,” particularly near the steel propulsion shafts, the Navy memo said.

Temporary repairs will allow the ship to operate safely in the interim, the Navy said. The Littoral Combat Ships are designed to last about 25 years. Each ship is expected to cost about $36.6 million a year to operate and support.

Two Versions
The Navy is buying two versions from two teams of builders. The other team consists of Bethesda, Maryland-based Lockheed and Marinette Marine Corp. of Marinette, Wisconsin.

The first Lockheed ship developed a crack as long as six inches through its hull during sea trials in February, prompting a Navy investigation of the design.

Calls to Austal and calls and e-mails to General Dynamics weren’t immediately returned.

The Austal ship is now in Mayport, Florida, undergoing additional testing, the Navy said in its statement. A permanent repair of the existing corrosion damage would be conducted next year, the Navy said. The Navy statement did not provide an estimate of the cost of the repair work.

SOURCE: http://www.bloomberg.com/news/2011-06-17/navy-finds-aggressive-corrosion-on-austal-s-combat-ship-1-.html

Mike Feuer Calls Upon Public Utilities Commission to Provide Gas Pipeline Safety Information

Feuer Requests Answers to Concerns Raised by Investigation of San Bruno Pipeline Rupture.

Assembly Member Mike Feuer (D-Los Angeles) has asked the California Public Utilities Commission (CPUC) to provide information about the safety of gas pipelines in Feuer’s district after a devastating explosion in San Bruno, California raised questions about the safety of aging pipeline infrastructure.  In a letter dated June 10, 2011, Feuer called for the CPUC’s assistance in obtaining answers to a number of specific concerns identified by the National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) in its investigation of the pipeline rupture in San Bruno.

“The safety of my constituents is my number one priority, which is why I called on the CPUC to provide answers to a comprehensive set of questions about the safety of the pipelines running through neighborhoods in my district,” said Feuer. “I want to ensure that residents and businesses have the information they need to protect their families and workplaces.”

After the San Bruno disaster, Feuer’s office met with representatives from Southern California Gas Company (SoCalGas), whose pipelines serve most of Southern California, to discuss issues of pipeline safety.  This session, Feuer supported Assembly Bill 56, legislation designating the CPUC as the state authority responsible for the development and administration of a safety program for natural gas pipelines. Feuer’s current request to the CPUC seeks information that would increase transparency and communication between SoCalGas and the communities it serves.

“I am asking for the CPUC’s help to gather information about SoCalGas pipelines to increase public awareness and promote industry practices that will contribute to safer communities,” Feuer stated.

In his letter to the CPUC, Feuer asked a number of specific questions, among them:

  • Has SoCalGas identified all gas transmission lines in the District that have not previously undergone a testing regimen designed to validate a safe operating pressure?
  • What steps has SoCalGas taken to ensure it is basing operating pressures on accurate information contained in its records?
  • Where are the high consequence areas (HCAs) located within the 42nd District?  Have residences, businesses, schools and other institutions been made aware of their proximity to the HCAs?
  • Does each high-pressure pipeline identified by SoCalGas pursuant to the NTSB recommendations have an automatic or computerized shut-off valve?  If not, why not, and when could a plan be developed to install and pay for such valves?

A complete copy of Feuer’s letter to the CPUC can be found here.

The 42nd Assembly District includes all or part of the Los Angeles neighborhoods of Sherman Oaks, Studio City, North Hollywood, Valley Glen, Valley Village, Toluca Lake, Universal City, Griffith Park, West Los Angeles, Brentwood, Bel Air, Holmby Hills, Beverly Glen, Westwood, Century City, Hollywood, Fairfax, Hancock Park, Los Feliz and the Cities of Beverly Hills and West Hollywood.

SOURCE: http://studiocity.patch.com/articles/feuer-calls-upon-public-utilities-commission-to-provide-gas-pipeline-safety-information-to-42nd-district-residents

£3.5 contract awarded for Forth bridge cable corrosion probe

AN INVESTIGATION is to be launched into potential corrosion of the Forth Road Bridge’s main cable anchors.

A £3.5 million contract for the work was yesterday awarded by the Forth Estuary Transport Authority, which runs the bridge, to Graham Construction.This follows ongoing work to dry out the rest of the cable in an attempt to halt corrosion, which has already triggered the building of a new adjacent crossing costing up to £1.6 billion.

The anchorage work is expected to start in August, with 30ft deep excavations at the south end of the bridge taking a year. Inspection work and evaluation of the findings will take a further year.

Chief engineer and bridgemaster Barry Colford said there was no external evidence of any problem, but the work was a “very important investigation into what are critical components of the suspension bridge”.

He added: “It is our responsibility to inspect every part of the structure in order to ensure there are no hidden issues.”

The anchors are concrete-filled tunnels bored into the rock on either shore, where the bridge’s main suspension cables are attached to the ground.

Corrosion under the Lincoln Street Bridge is prompting the City of Wichita to begin building a new bridge

Lincoln Bridge Closing Disrupts Local Fishermen

“I know they’ve got to do their job but it’s going to affect a lot of the good fishing down through there,” said Kenneth Snell, with a fishing rod in one hand, ready to fish south of the Lincoln Street Bridge.

Fishermen along the Arkansas River were not looking forward to finding new spots to make a catch.

“This is the best spot. The heads are taking it down from us but we could wait. We don’t have no other choice,” said Snell.

The 40-year-old bridge is located above a dam that has been wearing down the support and steel. City engineers said patching up the problems would be too costly.

“Even though the existing bridge could be repaired, we’ve done an economical analysis and found that it was more economical to construct a new bridge and then move the current dam out from underneath,” said Jim Armour, city engineer for the City of Wichita.

The new dam will be moved about 200 feet downstream from its current location. Engineers said the new dam will help stabilize river levels upstream.

“Although this won’t completely eliminate any flooding upstream, it’ll reduce the occasions of that,” said Armour.

Starting Monday, engineers will lower river levels. This is something engineers said will be helpful in the long-run.

“The citizens will see a lot more stability in the river level upstream once the new dam is completed,” said Armour. “I think this bridge will have a service life of 50 to a hundred years.”

Although fishermen didn’t like the move, they said they’re looking forward to a new bridge.

“Whenever they do get through it, I know it’ll look nice,” said Snell.

The Lincoln Street Bridge will be closed to pedestrians and motorists starting Monday. Traffic will be detoured using Harry Street, McClean Boulevard, and both Main and Market Streets.

The project is expected to be complete by the fall of 2012.

SOURCE: http://www.kake.com/news/headlines/Lincoln_Bridge_Closing_Disrupts_Local_Fishermen_123719869.html 

Network Rail Protecting Royal Albert Bridge from Corrosion

Around 50,000 new bolts are being used in Network Rail’s major project, which started in late May, to restore Brunel’s famous Royal Albert bridge that was built in 1859.

These bolts – as ‘precious and mighty as Brunel’s legendary golden rivet bolt’ – will be vital to keep the landmark structure strong for the next century and beyond.

The £10m improvement scheme will see engineers investing nearly 2m hours of work over the next two years to strengthen and repaint Royal Albert bridge, bringing it back to its former glory.

Around 35,000 litres of special paint will also be used to spruce up and protect the bridge’s steel façade from corrosion.

Mark Langman, route director for Network Rail said:

“We have a big task to transform the railway on Great Western in the coming years and the improvement on Royal Albert bridge plays a big part.

“The Royal Albert bridge remains a vital rail link and has carried more than 1 billion tonnes of rail traffic since it was built. This is the most complex refurbishment work ever and our work will inject a new lease of life and keep the landmark bridge robust for many years to come.”

To be carried out in five stages, the work will start concurrently from each end of the bridge and it is carefully designed to minimize disruption to the community and passengers.

The scaffolding will be encapsulated to create a contained safe working environment to prevent dust and debris from falling from the structure and to reduce any noise pollution.

The encapsulation is sealed to help reduce any noise and its roof is also pitched to prevent accumulation of rain water, which could add weight to the structure. In addition, the encapsulation will form a tunnel around the track, so that engineers can continue to access the structure when trains are running.

A large industrial vacuum cleaner will be used to remove all waste, including grit produced during the blasting process. This waste will be removed daily to prevent any contamination to the environment.

The structure was listed Grade 1 in 1952 by the English Heritage, which has also backed this project.

Engineers use Route 23 bridge in Wayne to study corrosion

WAYNE – An international team of engineers and researchers, each dressed in a yellow vest and hard hat, on Tuesday poked and prodded – so to speak – at a steel string bridge, looking for signs of deterioration & corrosion.

International engineers conduct a study of highway bridge deterioration using a bridge on Route. 23 in Wayne for the test.

As drivers whizzed by without giving thought to the condition of the structure, the engineers were unleashing a variety of high tech tools – ground penetrating radar, ultrasonic equipment and impact echoing technology – to aid them in evaluating the bridge deck that spans Route 23. The bridge carries traffic over Mountainview Boulevard in Wayne.
They are part of the “International Bridge Study,” a project organized by the Center for Advanced Infrastructure and Transportation at Rutgers University in June 2010. It brings together engineers and researchers from Japan, Switzerland, Austria, Korea, the United States and other nations to study the North Jersey bridge, according to Carl Blesch, a spokesman for Rutgers University.

Their purpose is two-fold. They are looking for ways to identify bridge corrosion early so that it can be treated earlier – when the cost is less expensive. They are also looking for ways to treat corrosion that extends the life of infrastructure in their own countries.

“We have no sustainable path forward to manage our infrastructure,” said Franklin Moon, an associate professor of structural engineering at Drexel University, a lead engineer on the project.

“If you want a public infrastructure system, someone has to pay for it. Public infrastructure costs more now than it has to cost,” he said. “We’re spending a lot of money on repairs we might not need to do if we can catch them early.”

Moon said there are 600,000 bridges in the nation and 66,000 in New Jersey. He said he believes agencies are spending more to maintain bridges than they need to because bridge repairs often do not occur until the deterioration has progressed significantly.

He said corrosion expands the rebar in the bridge and when it expands, it pops the concrete, creating a pothole. If the corrosion is detected earlier, it can be treated – with a corrosion inhibitor, for instance – which can prevent it from expanding, he said.

“It’s analogous to finding cancer early so you can deal with it,” he said. “Find cancer late and you’re in trouble … If you let that go to the point that it’s spalling and you’ve got potholes, now you’re out there with a jack hammer and replacing it.”

Moon said the New Jersey Department of Transportation selected the Wayne bridge to study because it is representative of 2,600 other bridges in the state. They all have similar drainage, deck quality and vibration issues, he said.

This bridge, which was built in 1983, handles about 73,100 vehicles a day, said Tim Greeley, spokesman for the state transportation department.

It was last inspected in July 2010, and “is in overall fair condition,” he said.

Greeley said all bridges 20-feet in length or longer are inspected at least every two years.

The teams will meet for a workshop June 14 and 15 to share findings and make recommendations.

SOURCE: http://www.northjersey.com/news/Engineers_use_Route_23_bridge_in_Wayne_to_study_corrosion.html

TransCanada reopens Keystone oil pipeline

There were no concerns about the integrity of the 1,300-mile Keystone oil  pipeline following a May 29 spill in Kansas, the U.S. government said.

Canadian pipeline company TransCanada restarted the Keystone oil pipeline  during the weekend. The Department of Transportation’s Pipeline and Hazardous  Materials Safety Administration issued a corrective action prohibiting a restart  last week but reconsidered in time for a Sunday restart.

Julia Valentine, a spokeswoman for the PHMSA, was quoted by The Wall Street  Journal as saying there weren’t any concerns about the integrity of  Keystone.

“Every pipeline incident is unique,” she said. “In this case, the failure did  not raise concerns for the integrity of the pipeline.”

Keystone transits around 591,000 barrels of oil per day from Alberta, Canada.  A May 29 leak in Kansas spilled about 10 barrels of oil. There were 11 separate  spills on the pipeline recently though the company said all were relatively  minor.

TransCanada is pushing for a $13.3 billion extension to the pipeline. The  project is scrutinized by regulators and environmentalists who worry about the  potential for spills and uncertainty about the safety of transiting oil from tar  sands in Canada.

SOURCE: http://www.upi.com/Business_News/Energy-Resources/2011/06/06/TransCanada-reopens-Keystone-oil-pipeline/UPI-85081307364816/#ixzz1OaJxzzrS