|PICTURE OF THE DAY
|NORTH EUROPEAN SHIPS
|SOUTH ATLANTIC AND CARRIBEAN
|INDIA AND INDIAN OCEAN
|NORTH AMERICAN SHIPS
|FAR EAST AND AUSTRALIA
|MEDITERRANEAN AND MIDDLE EAST
|ARTICLES AND FEATURES
|NEWS AND VIEWS
A Reverse Auction
The Offshore Shipbrokers Newsletter tells us that Petersens held a
reverse auction for the supply of a UT755 during December. For those who
are unaware of this particular approach to the provision of support
vessels to operators, they starts with a price which is in fact the
maximum that they will pay for the charter and any interested companies then bid lower figures. And one presumes
that the lowest bid gets the job, though doubtless the charterers will
reserve the right to refuse ships which are just not up to the job, or
companies who do not have appropriate management systems in place.
In this age of
quality management, or perhaps this should read Quality Management, one of
the tenets of the philosophy seems to have been forgotten, which was that
those who make contracts with suppliers should ensure that those providing
the supplies receive sufficient return to be able to carry out the supply
effectively. Neglecting this part of the process has resulted in a
cutthroat approach to the chartering process on both sides. In times of
oversupply the Operators will nail the ship-owners and in times of
shortage the reverse will happen. The process is also used when it comes
to the hire or drilling rigs. The result is that there is still too
much old stuff lying about waiting for shortages to occur, and the results
of re-activating non-operational units is a topic all on its own.
reason for the story is that Petersens set the opening (and highest price)
for a UT755 at £6,800 and there was no response from the ship-owners. Of
course part of the process had been disabled because there were no UT755s
available before the mid 1990s. Hence the old stuff could not apply. After
the failure of the auction Petersens have taken the Simt Lloyd Fortune!
the last bit of a rant about old ships we are pleased to report that some
old stuff is finally leaving the North Sea to take up other occupations.
North Star have sold a number of their former supply vessels to
"Middle Eastern Buyers". These ships, the Grampian Sword, the
Grampian Sabre and the Grampian Eagle were originally part of the
Harrisons (Clyde) fleet.
We believe that the Grampian Eagle, as
the Stirling Eagle, was one of the first four tiny platform ships built by
Harrisons in the mid 1970s. All four were delivered to the company and lay
in the Dundee inner dock, then as now the favourite place in the
north-east for laying up ships, until they got their first job which was
to perform in a Harp Hager advert. This is so long ago that probably
almost none of our readers will remember Harp Lager.
These ships ran successfully for many
years even though they incorporated almost all the worst possible features
for supply vessels, particularly small size, low freeboard and Allen
diesels. They were even replicated by the early TNT ships.
Now this phase of their life is over
after 27 years, in the case of the Grampian Eagle, and we saw the last of
them scurrying out of the harbour the other day on the first leg of its
journey to the Arabian Gulf. It looked different, its davits and FRCs had
been removed, but the survivor accommodation was still present. Those who
have done time on vessels offshore in the Gulf would guess that they are
not going back into the supply role. No, the probability is that the
survivor areas will have large numbers of bunks put in them and they will
be tied up more or less permanently alongside offshore installations,
providing the accommodation for large numbers of workers from the Indian
sinking of the Prestige off the coast of Spain has received massive coverage
in all forms of media and has even stired seafarers, a notoriously reticent
bunch, into writing letters to the newspapers.
Those of us who were in Spain over the
Christmas holiday felt a degree of responsibility for the whole thing just
because we are seafarers. The eyes were constantly assaulted by pictures of plucky volunteers wearing
white paper boiler suits shovelling thick black stuff into large buckets,
which were being passed along lines of people and emptied into skips. Where
the skips were being taken was not revealed on television. And it all seemed
to be the fault of the unfortunate Greek shipmaster, and for some time the
When we thought
about it we did not, as mariners, feel quite so responsible. It might after
all have been as a result of poor welding that the ship fell apart, or it
might have been that the ship was just too old to be at sea. In the latter
case the Classification Society might have noticed that things were not
quite up to scratch. Most of all it seems completely the wrong thing to do,
to tow the ship out to sea in the hope that it would get so far away that
any oil would not get to the coast. Of course the Spanish government had
managed to do this with the Caster the previous year and had got away with
it, if that is the right way of putting it.
of course the Mediterranean is less often rough than the Atlantic.
Indeed, as far as we know there there is no coastline in the
Mediterranean nicknamed "The Coast of Death".
The Departure of the Seabulk Eagle 2
announcement in sales and purchases is that Seabulk have sold their
anchor-handling tug Seabulk Eagle 2. This ship was originally the
Maersk Blazer and was built in the late 1970s to fulfil the perceived
requirement for dedicated anchor handling vessels. Those of us out there at
the time envied those operating the Maersk Blazer and it sister ships
because they were extremely powerful and were very manoeuvrable despite the
fact that they only had 300 bhp at the bowthruster.
But, their biggest advantage was the short
afterdeck. The rest of us were dragging wires down 100 feet of deck using
snatchbocks and tuggers , or sometimes our bare hands. The place on the deck
were we did all the work was at the stern, miles away from the winch and the
tuggers and most importantly the lights. Meanwhile the Maersk guys seemed to
have everything in their favour.
Oddgier Refvik took a picture of yet
another of this class working off the coast of Egypt last year. Here it is:
A Bit about Tank Cleaning
are pleased to report an increase in the interest in our mud tank cleaning
philosophy. It is finally dawning on people that the way to reduce the
amount of dirty water produced during tank cleaning activities is to do the
job with an installed system which cleans the tanks with the product. This
will ensure that the residues left in the tanks is limited and hence will
reduce the need for tank cleaners, with their people, water jets and noisy
This may be good
news for a number of our clients who have installed tank cleaning machines
in their vessels over the last 15 years but have not used them much, or at
all. Of course the newbuilding installations have taken place without
reference to us and so sometimes the results are not quite up to the task.
Ship-builders are notoriously frugal with their funds and would rather get
it wrong than take advice as long as the client does not find out about it.
This has meant that we are now offering advice and supplying equiment which
should have been there in the first place.
In environmental terms the greater use of
the Marex Tank Cleaning Systems may be one of the few success stories
offshore at present. The environmentalists have discovered that most of the
problems with oil exploration relate to the disposal of liquids in one way
or another. The crude oil itself is seldom a problem. It is kept down there
underground until it can be channelled through pipes to the shore or into
the tanks of the shuttle tankers. The oils used to keep the machinery
going on rigs, and the chemicals of all sorts used during the drilling
process can be more difficult to deal with. They can turn clean water into
dirty water and the dirty water has to be transported back to the shore
rather than being allowed to run into the sea. And disposing of the dirty
water is proving to be something of a problem.
wishing to know more about tank cleaning with the product should visit our tank
is almost a duty on our part to report on yet another collision between an
offshore vessel and a rig. In this case it was the Havila Sea and the Stena
Dee. There has been no official statement from the owners and the news
reporting has been limited, however rumour has it that the cause may
possibly have been lack of attention on the part of the watch-keeper.
is a repeat of some of what I wrote last July. Everybody should make this
affirmation. It will prevent embarrassment and possibly injury or death. You
can't keep being lucky out there.
"We have all laughed in the past at
photographs of supply vessels buried up to the bridge-front in offshore
installations but now, I suggest, the joke is over, and I have been
wondering what we, the "we" being this small consultancy in
Aberdeen, might do to help. Here is an idea. Collisions between support
vessels and offshore installations would probably be avoided if the
support vessels never at any time headed straight for the installation at
which they are going to work. A couple of degrees down wind or down
current is neither here nor there, but if you forget where you are the
worst thing which can happen is that you are embarrassed when you find
that the rig is behind you not in front of you. So bearing this in mind we
would suggest that all watch-keepers in the offshore industry make an
affirmation that they will not at any time set course directly towards an
offshore installation. It may sound strange but it is surprising what good
a few words will do. So guys, make the affirmation and don't hit anything.
You may use our guest book if you want it to really mean something.
I am hoping never to be out there again
driving a ship, but just in case, here is my affirmation.
I, Victor Gibson, promise that as a
watch-keeper of an offshore support vessel I will never set or maintain a
heading which would result in a collision with an offshore
This is something we can do as individuals
and there is no doubt that the result will be a safer environment, because
this requires no skill, just an intent to be safer."
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