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NEWS AND VIEWS APRIL 2005 

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Back Again

Have you noticed that when-ever have been away, even for a long week-end, you return to your home and work expecting things to be different. Almost invariably you are surprised to find that rather than there being any changes at all, things have remained almost obstinately the same.

My wife and I have just got back from what was a very interesting trip to North America where we visited friends and relatives in Canada, and flew to Lafayette where I presented a paper on tank cleaning at the IADC Offshore Logistics Conference in Lafayette. I may or may not choose to comment on this conference later.

However getting to the point. I arrived back to find that nothing had changed at all, specifically in the area of writing for the website. We have once more received no contributions even though we are offering money prizes and I know that there are thousands of creative writers all over the world, many of whom must have some knowledge or interest in the maritime world. So I am just going to have to make further contributions myself.

The Ship with the X-bow

I have just been directed to a press release on the Ulstein Verft page by a friend of the website who works for Maersk, and I have taken the liberty of reproducing the pictures from the page here, though I hasten to add that should Ulstein Verft AS wish me to remove the pictures then they have only to say. This is a first for the News and Views, and I recognise that pictures make articles so much more interesting - possible contributors should note.

The above is a picture of the bow of the Ulstein AX104 provided with what is called the "Ulstein X-Bow (TM) . According to the press release this bow design "eliminates slamming by the sea. The shape means the vessel can achieve higher speeds in all conditions and fuel economy is good".

The managing director of Bourbon Offshore Norway said "We saw the sketches of the ULSTEIN AX104 and liked the shape of it" !! (Our exclamation marks). It is really difficult to be objective at this point, and one can't help thinking that if this was really a good idea then surely all ships would be like this, or is it because the whole of the bow and the accommodation can be incorporated, so the fact that the seas can climb up to the bridge level is not important. They've done tank testing, so it must be OK. But I still have the memory of being really pleased that the flare on the bow pushed the waves away from the ship, otherwise the seas would have been coming through the bridge windows, and not being pleased when the flare failed to push the waves away and the seas did come through the bridge windows.

The other end of the ship offers some surprises as well. The ships is equipped with the "newly developed Safe Anchor-Handling System SAHS, provided by ODIM which increases the safety of the anchor-handling work" . This picture in pretty interesting as well, and is really a sign of the times. It has been noticeable recently that designers have found it less necessary to provide anchor handlers with a means of allowing the tow wire to run along the crash barrier. This is because the ships can turn without having the move the tow wire from the stern at worst enough sideways thrust can be applied to change direction with the ship and the wire pivoted at the tow end.

 

This system appears to absolutely prevent the tow wire from going round the side - or perhaps the ship is not to be used for towing. And call me picky but surely a steep ramp from the point at which the crew will be working to the water would make it easier for people to slide into the sea, and in fact impossible to recover them. This thought caused me to visit the ODIM page where the picture shows a different structure altogether.

So we have now had a supply ship with accommodation aft and an anchor handler which uses the accommodation forward in a different way, what else can happen. What-ever it is I just can't see the model builders being keen on the ULSTEIN AX104.

Vic Gibson

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