The Belem is Back at Sea, With A Partially Renewed Hull

Credits: Jérôme Bosger / Saint-Nazaire Renversante

In December 2022, Boat News announced a major refit for the Belem, the last three-masted steel-hulled barque under the French flag. The work is now finished, the damaged part of the hull having been replaced. The Belem will be able to sail again after several months of intensive work.

A 25-ton block of steel replaced

After several months of work, the Belem is now out of the woods. A huge steel block weighing 25 tons and measuring 5 by 7 meters has been extracted from the hull and replaced by a new one. The work consisted of reinforcing the 128-year-old original hull section, which had suffered significant losses in thickness due to natural wear and tear.

A construction site of several months

This large-scale project was carried out by Eiffage Energies Systèmes âeuros Clemessy Services, with the assistance and expertise of the DRAC Pays de la Loire. As a reminder, the engine hold had suffered double erosion. This erosion was caused by internal erosion by wastewater, as the Belem was not equipped with a wastewater collection tank, and external erosion by sea water. Although natural, this erosion resulting in a 20% loss of thickness had to be repaired. The ship entered dry dock on December 12 for a long technical work of 1.7 million euros.

Resumption of the sailing program as of May 13

The end of the work consisted of sea trials and the restarting of the three-masted boat. The boat will sail again on May 13 and 14, 2023 with young people from the Second Chance School on board. A new type of navigation for the Belem. She will then resume her European tour in France and Spain.

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Source: Boat News