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Gallery - MV Collaroy's 2018 Garden Island Dry Docking in Pictures (Part 1 of 3)


On 20th August 2018 Manly Ferry Collaroy was sent for its most recent 5-year refit at the Garden Island drydock in Sydney. James Goins maintained the following photographic and written public record of this major refit.


Click on each image to automatically advance to the next one

MV Collaroy 2018 Dry Docking Image 1


Day one on the blocks for Collaroy means pressure washing of the hull and superstructure. Berthed in cherry picker gondolas, teams of hummingbird-like cleaners circulate around the ship in three-dimensional space

MV Collaroy 2018 Image 2


When 3000 psi is not enough. Cleaners move in with chippers to lever off barnacles and mussels from Collaroy's hull. Here, extra care is needed to preserve the mounting studs for the sacrificial anodes. The same studs are used to remount new anodes after hull preservation works are completed.

MV Collaroy 2018 Image 3


Collaroy's Starboard anchor chain is hauled out of it's locker, shackle by shackle, and flaked onto the dock floor at the head of the Captain Cook Graving Dock in Sydney.

MV Collaroy 2018 Image 4


Pressure washers are set at 3000 psi to rip away five years of sea growth from Collaroy's hull, affording the cleaning crews the first telling glimpse of what lies beneath and how it will be treated.



No drone involved here. Dropping down into the dock harnessed into a cherry picker's gondola, we see Collaroy's home for the next month on the south

MV Collaroy 2018 Image 6


In full body armour, hull cleaners hovering 20 metres aloft on a dawn raid upon Collaroy's superstructure.

MV Collaroy 2018 Image 7


A small fish in a big pond. Collaroy currently shares the spacious forward end of the dock with a naval vessel, but there is still plenty of dock floor room to spare on the forward end.

MV Collaroy 2018 Image 8


Collaroy's propulsion and steering systems are vastly different to the other three vessels in her class. The full disassembly will be interesting, to say the least. In order to safely detach, dismount and remove the various components of these systems, riggers require suspension points of exactly the right load rating in exactly the right spot. At every docking, these lifting eyes must be welded on, load tested, put into use and subsequently decommissioned and cut off at docking's end. Here, you can see the chief rigger's specific demands - lifting eyes load rated in tonnes - etched upon the hull in pink spray paint.

MV Collaroy 2018 Image 9


Telescopic Boom Lifts. These diesel powered workhorses, also known as cherry pickers, have nearly completely taken over the modern dock floor in terms of from-below hullworks and left staging and scaffolding nearly for dead. To drive them smoothly requires years of practice. These units can extend up to about 30 metres in height in just over a minute.



It's not very often that the yard fitters ask us to run static pitch tests on the props before they pull them apart. Normally, the systems are electrically isolated and drained of oil as soon as practicable, which would have killed any hope of running these tests now. All four blades are coming off this time, and the last time the secret toolbox was opened (let alone located) to carry the job that far was 10 years ago. Here, the blades are seen rotating in both directions, thus creating or removing pitch in the process. Controlling this pitch and using that control to advantage is a key factor in the way masters are able to so effortlessly manoeuvre these vessels.

MV Collaroy 2018 Image 11


When fitters removed the hull grate from Collaroy's main sea chest, they found enough shellfish growth to feed a family.

MV Collaroy 2018 Image 12


Every docking is different. Things are slow to unfold on the dock floor in terms of mechanical works. The hull blasting and preservation work is still underway, which pretty much halts most of everything else. Thankfully, the chains are finally detached from the ship and the anchor windlass is headed for the operating table. Here sits Collaroy, stabilisers deployed, on a rainy day four of her 2018 docking.

MV Collaroy 2018 Image 13


With both anchors and chains now offloaded onto the dock floor, Collaroy's anchor pen area is ready to be invaded by the preservation crew.

MV Collaroy 2018 Image 14


Meanwhile, up on the superstructure, crews working on the funnel have been busy unearthing a bit of vessel history. This painted-on band of super-sized and improperly centred lettering (who remembers it?) was thought to have been permanently removed years ago, but it made such an impression on the funnel that it's clearly too much work to get it completely off.

MV Collaroy 2018 Image 14A


Inside the ship, Collaroy's ceiling panels have been badly etched by years of sea air, so they are being removed and replaced with these wider, flatter units which are easier to keep clean and provide a fresh new look. Here, crews are nearly finished fitting out the area around what remains of the old Harold Gibson Bar, a classic feature of the old ocean cruising days which, sadly, was removed in the pre-Olympic refit. For those who remember.



To set the record straight, Collaroy's Sperry Gyrofin Stabilisers are still intact, were never wrecked, and can still be operated. Collaroy was built for ocean cruising, and don't we know it. Being equipped with stabilisers was but one of many winning cards dealt to the ship - The Golden Child of the Freshwater Class - when she was launched at Carrington almost 30 years ago at a much higher cost compared to her three older sisters. Unfortunately, she was unceremon-iously taken out of survey for ocean cruising and the stabilisers have since been de-linked from Collaroy's gyro. Not an entirely killing blow for them, but one which has knocked them out of general play.


They must remain in-situ and be operational (resurrectible) as part of the original ship's design, and as such they must be preserved as any other part of the hull. So every five years out they come for a scrub, blast and paint, during which time they pose for a few nostalgic photos and then, sadly, back in they go for another five years. These enigmatic babies would probably sign autographs if they could. Here, in all their glory, are Collaroy's mystical stabilisers, flying as fully as they can in 2018. May they live to work again. NB: The footage here is obviously sped up a bit. Elapsed time of deployment for each one of them was actually over two minutes, once the barnacles and mussels released their grip.



Hull blasters are hired assassins. Bounty hunters paid in advance. Cleaners. In order to maximise the extent to which the upcoming applications of hull preservative will properly key to the ship, this mob must spend days on end mercilessly ripping back anything from Collaroy's skin that would otherwise inhibit the ironclad adhesion of those very expensive and warranty-backed hull preservatives. When the onslaught is over, the quivering hull will be left crying out for mercy, and it will be rightfully quenched soon enough with yet another youth-giving layer of high-tech salvation from the spraypainter's gun.

MV Collaroy 2018 Image 18


The sky has fallen. Every ceiling panel from Collaroy's main passenger deck has been removed and new panels are ready to be installed.

MV Collaroy 2018 Image 19


The sum of its parts. In exploded view, Collaroy's anchor windlass is laid out on the floor of the cavernous fitter's shop. Shortly, some of the more corroded components will be frogmarched to the blasting shed for a bit of work.

MV Collaroy 2018 Image 20


The port brake drum of Collaroy's anchor windlass is found to be quite thinned even before the imminent punishment of the blast shed. As this is a cast part, the brave machinists who dare to take this one on will surely be having secret discussions with their metallurgist mates.

MV Collaroy 2018 Image 21


The opposite face of Collaroy's port brake drum ensures an express ticket to the blast shed

MV Collaroy 2018 Image 22


While the noise and chaos of the docking prevail outside, painters are quietly working their way around Collaroy's interior, laying on coats of fresh colour and slowly but systematically bringing tired areas back to life

MV Collaroy 2018 Image 23


Collaroy's monkey islands and funnel are fully shrouded in scaffolding.

MV Collaroy 2018 Image 24


Collaroy's aft steering compartment is nearly completely disassembled. It's three associated steering motors are off ship, oil supply piping galleries and cover plates removed and oil drained out. The 60kg locking nut, at centre here, holds the rudder stock onto its taper and will be the last domino to fall once the gigantic, purpose-built wrench (here shown dangling and at-the-ready) is eased down onto it and cracked from its grip with a handsledge chaser.

MV Collaroy 2018 Image 25


The early stages of the disassembly of Collaroy's aft steering provide an instant insight as to why the riggers need so many lifting eyes installed on the hull to safely remove her Becker Rudders

MV Collaroy 2018 Image 26


Collaroy's aft end. The Becker Rudder is dropped from its taper, which occurs within the rudder itself, and lowered down to the dock floor, leaving only the protruding stub of the stock to defend.

MV Collaroy 2018 Image 27


Down comes Collaroy's three-tonne aft rudder stock. The off-coloured middle section, which exists free of bearing and lives within a watertight tube, is shown here covered in preservatory grease of varying age and type. Fitters will initially shear off the grease with a waterblaster to further inspect the stock and prepare it for wear testing.

MV Collaroy 2018 Image 28


Yard boilermakers at work late into the day under huge docking floodlights. Here, surrounded by patches of recently applied hull primer, they weld in lifting eyes at the ship's forward end.



Freed from it's pins, Collaroy's 800kg Port Lower gangway is craned off the ship and out of the dock.



Fitters and riggers close out a big day on the dock as they lower Collaroy's aft rudder stock, firstly out of it's tube and then onto its side for storage in a cradle at dockside.

MV Collaroy 2018 Image 31


The electric drive motor has been detached from Collaroy's anchor windlass, but it's journey to the electrician's workbench runs via the blast shed first. Here, the blastmaster has carried out the careful task of etching off surface corrosion from the fins of the motor casing. Why blast the fins? The corrugation of the fins is an essential design component as the increased surface area it provides helps to carry away heat from the motor during operation. The cleaner the fins, the more efficient their function.

MV Collaroy 2018 Image 32


Fresh new lettering has already been applied to Collaroy's funnel on day eight of the docking. This must be a record.

MV Collaroy 2018 Image 33


Collaroy's Starboard anchor chain undergoing survey. Yard boilermakers work their way down the chain, taking spot thickness samples of the links using digital calipers.

MV Collaroy 2018 Image 34


Renewed ceiling panels are in place around the Harold Gibson Bar Section. Along with fresh new colour on the adjacent bulkheads, they will kick start a badly needed reboot to the aesthetics of the inner passenger areas.

MV Collaroy 2018 Image 35


If you are a crane operator, nothing impedes your view. Here, riggers prepare Collaroy's Starboard upper gangway for liftoff.



We have liftoff, and Collaroy's half-tonne Starboard upper gangway is moved off ship and onto a waiting trailer by the yard's 64-tonne western crane.

MV Collaroy 2018 Image 37


Each weighing exactly 367kg, Collaroy's four aft propellor blades have been lifted off the hub and are all resting dockside, waiting to be polished and fatigue tested. Of particular interest to the testers will be the areas around and beneath the seven bolts which secure each blade to the hub.

MV Collaroy 2018 Image 38


All is revealed. A privileged underside view of Collaroy's pillaged aft end. The only step remaining in the dismantlement of this end is the extraction of the shaft. The hub will not be pulled apart.

MV Collaroy 2018 Image 39


Ahhhh. Precision. The hub plate for each propellor takes seven 157mm long bronze aluminium bolts, which act to evenly secure the blade to the hub. The crank pin, shown here still in situe, is the actual locating feature which ensures the blade is in proper mated position to be acted upon by the shaft's sliding internal piston, causing rotation, and thus pitch, in either direction. And we haven't even brought shaft rotation into the discussion yet.

MV Collaroy 2018 Image 40


Safe within scaffolded confines, painters are hitting the heights of Collaroy's aft navigation decks. Main masts have been lowered down into their cradles for painting.

MV Collaroy 2018 Image 41


Bringing a nearly-30-year-old Harbour icon into refit involves routine renewal and refreshment for some components and, at times, abrupt change for others.

MV Collaroy 2018 Image 42


Carefully masked off against the damaging effects of airborne garnet dust, a blasting carryover which continues to whirl around the dock floor in the chilling gusty southerlies, Collaroy's aft propellor hub is rigged as a major lifting eye and ready to lead the way out for the lengthy shaft still housed within the ship. Fitters are still carrying out the very complicated task of uncoupling the shaft from its inboard connection.

MV Collaroy 2018 Image 43


In Collaroy's internal void spaces, the fitters are working on the systematic disconnection of not only the drive shaft itself, but also the gigantic piston that lives inside it. All the while, the shaft and its associated mechanisms must remain on level, supported by two and five-tonne chain blocks at every stage of its journey out .... and in.

MV Collaroy 2018 Image 44


A 32-tonne forklift is lowered into the dock. It's pulling power will be vital in the extraction of Collaroy's aft propellor shaft.

MV Collaroy 2018 Image 45


Seals and O-Rings, directly from the source. Over 230 of them are required just for the rebuild of Collaroy's amazing Kamome Controllable Pitch Propellor System.

MV Collaroy 2018 Image 46


Rust never sleeps. It looks like these condemned sounding pipes, one for each of Collaroy's fuel oil tanks, arrived onto the ship in sequential order. They will go down together.



Each of Collaroy's four hydraulic passenger gangway ramps is detached from the ship and taken dockside for repairs and painting. In addition to the gangway ramps themselves, the hydraulic rams which lower and raise the ramps, as well as those which pivot their respective locking cleats into and out of position, are all connected to the ship by pin-and-bushing unions which must also be removed and judged after a five year stint of duty. After such a long period of sustained usage, most of these pins and bushings will need to be re-machined. On the fitter's workbench, here they are - all of them - standing at attention for reckoning.

MV Collaroy 2018 Image 48


The dawn colour of Collaroy's 11th day on the blocks

MV Collaroy 2018 Image 49


Collaroy's number 1 aft propellor blade has been machined and is ready for fatigue testing.

MV Collaroy 2018 Image 50


Original blade data stamped onto Collaroy's number 1 aft propellor blade.

-->> Go to Part 2

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