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MV Cape Henlopen Passes Underwater Inspection
Operation Saved Nearly $3 Million during the Past Ten Years
 
(New Castle, DE) Today, the Cape May - Lewes Ferry (CMLF) officials announced that the MV Cape Henlopen passed an Underwater Inspection in Lieu of Drydocking (UWILD) at the Cape May ferry terminal. The (UWILD) program is an innovative underwater inspection process designed to meet stringent federal regulatory standards while reducing operating costs.   The on-site inspection took place on March 13, 2012,
 
“Over the years, the Cape May - Lewes Ferry has developed a strong working relationship with regulatory officials from both the United States Coast Guard (USCG) and the American Bureau of Shipping (ABS),” remarked Jim Gillespie, Port Engineer for the Ferry. “This innovative program is a product of close inter-agency cooperation - a process developed and refined to meet regulatory officials’ rigid inspection standards while the Authority realizes substantial cost savings.”
 
Typically, each ferry vessel must be dry-docked twice in a five-year period at an average cost of $275,000 per dry-docking contract. Each underwater survey costs approximately $10,000. Utilizing this program, the ferry vessels will now undergo one dry-docking in a five-year period, saving the Delaware River and Bay Authority (DRBA) nearly three million dollars. The Cape May Lewes Ferry was approved for the UWILD program about 10 years ago.
 
“We're very happy with the way the UWILD program works with the CMLF,” said LTJG Kate Ahrens of the U.S. Coast Guard - Sector Delaware Bay. “It allows us to ensure that the vessel and operations are safe for the public and meet regulatory requirements while allowing us to assist vessel operations.”
 
CMLF Chief Engineers Bill Harner and Frank Maloney began the inspection process by leading two inspection teams through the internal structure of the vessel, going from void space to void space inspecting the steel and structure from the inside. 
 
 At the same time, divers from Randive, Inc., a Perth Amboy, New Jersey commercial dive company, initiated a sweep of the vessel's hull and examined all the shafting, rudders and propellers, measuring wear on these components. Throughout the inspection process, inspectors maintain voice contact with the divers to direct these video cameras. The regulatory inspectors are able to view measurements and condition of vessel just as the diver saw it. The overall condition of the vessel was discussed with the regulatory personnel present. “The U.S. Coast Guard and the ABS inspectors passed the vessel and noted that they were impressed with how well the vessel has been maintained,” Gillespie noted.
 
Late 2002, the MV Cape Henlopen was the first CMLF vessel to undergo the three-day underwater inspection process.  After the inspection process is finished, the USCG and ABS issues a final approval notification approximately thirty (30) days later.
 
Photo Caption: A Randive commercial driver prepares to begin the underwater inspection process. The assessment, which took place on March 13, 2012, was conducted at the berthing docks at Cape May ferry terminal.

PDF of Press Release

JPEG Photo of Diver