Kwai Update 24 October 2017
Kwai returned to Hawaii on 16th of October and went into drydock the next day. During the outbound voyage a small leak was found in the hull. The ship was making water in the cargo hold. The pumps handled the flow for several days while the engineers checked for leaks through the seacocks and bilge pumping systems. The leak was finally located in the cargo hold sump box. This is physically located in the engine room, but the bilge system is connected through the bulkhead to the cargo hold. The sump box holds 2 of the engine room pump suctions which can be accessed through hatches so they can be cleared at any time even when the cargo hold is full. In this case this afforded access to the leak which was made worse by knocking off rust but also allowed a secure patch to be applied from outside and bolted from inside. This stopped the flow. For security the engineers, poured concrete over the top of the patch.
Once in drydock Captain Evy measured the thickness of the plating around the area and determined that the deterioration was in a small local area. Most likely this was caused by 60 years of electrolysis between the hull and the copper bilge suction pipe fitted just above the hole. The other side of the keel directly under the other suction pipe was similarly found thin. Both areas were cropped and the steel replaced. A new sump box is under construction with an additional sump and all new piping fitted. This repair will be finished today and Kwai will return to her ocean home as soon as bottom paint is applied.
Voyage 41 though underreported on this website, was a good success. Kwai returned to Hawaii in a record 26 days, after visiting Christmas, Fanning and Washington Island before heading to drydock. South of 10 N was mostly light winds but between there and Hawaii, the trade winds blew strong and carried the ship north and south with good speeds. Kwai loaded discharged 400m3 of Hawaii cargo and loaded back another 100m3 in Christmas Island. Few passengers board these days as the plane flies twice a week and carries most of the human traffic between the islands. We continue to work to supply the 2 Outer Islands with cargoes from Fiji and further, transhipped in CXI. No copra this trip as the ship was headed straight back to Hawaii, not calling at CXI.
Honolulu Harbor has informed us that they cannot promise us use of their 2 remaining warehouses in the Port. Our shipment of palletized cargo is now unique in the harbor where everything else is containerized or roll on/off. As a result we have now leased a warehouse outside the port where we will marshal the cargoes. We still have the use of Pier 19 warehouse and dock this trip and we hope to carry on there for a while, but in the event that we have to load without a pier warehouse we will now have that capability. Rents are not cheap in Kalihi and we will have to raise our freight rate starting on Voyage 43. This was inevitable in any case due to changes and increases in stevedoring operations. The warehouse will be available to our major shippers, so hopefully that will defray some of the increase in freight rate. Our operation, once common, is now a relic of the past, like the ship. But we are still functional, needed, and hard at work to survive in the modern world.
Best regards to all,