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The Ship with the X-bow PART 2

The pictures below are reproduced from the April News and Views. But we know more now, so I am passing on the new information.


The potential owners of this revolutionary ship have been a bit distressed by the amount of space given to the bow, when actually they think that a great deal of work has gone into the other end. And you may remember that I said the following back in April "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." Well, now all is explained. The ramp is a movable structure. When required to pick up a pennant from a rig the ship backs up, the ramp is placed in the vertical position and a sort of T bar extends from the aft surface. The crane-driver slots the pennant into the T bar and it is then retracted. The ramp returns to the horizontal so that now the pennant is on top, held by the T bar, and you can do what-ever you like with it.

If it is required that you pick up a buoy the ship backs up and the two cranes are extended over the stern holding the lasso. When the lasso is over the top of the buoy it is released by the cranes and drops over the buoy. The buoy can then be recovered.

When recovering an anchor the workwire is wound in with the ramp vertical until the end of the shank and the chasing collar are level with the top, the ramp is then turned to horizontal so that the anchor is now on the deck.

The average AB would scoff at the thought of a shipmaster actually being able to position a loop of wire directly over a buoy without additional assistance from those at the stern, but here we should remember that dynamic positioning has become virtually a requirement for deep water anchor-handling, so no problem there.

Bourbon have gone ahead and ordered this ship without a contract, which shows commitment, and we really hope it works, and that the day rates remain sufficiently high for them to be paid for it.


I have decided to include a few words here which have absolutely nothing to do with the marine environment, but will hopefully help people to avoid being taken in. I typed Waldermann Publishing into Google and only got one response - so now there are two.

We received a document the other day from Waldermann Publishing which appeared to be an invoice for the inclusion of information in a business directory. It gave an address and a proposed entry detail and showed a cost of 423 with the words against the total "PLEASE REMIT THIS AMOUNT" . Since we only ever pay for inclusion in one directory we had a closer look at the document to find the words in small writing on the bottom. "This is not a bill. This is a solicitation" and on the back "This is a solicitation and not a assertion of a right to payment" and the words "In the event of an error being made there will be no refunds..."

Hence it is obvious that the senders hope that such a small amount will be passed by accounts departments of the companies who receive it, and once the payment has been made, even if it is made in error, there is no chance of you getting your money back.


The former Inverclyde now, Ocean Carrier is rumoured to have run into a bridge link in the Norwegian sector, apparently disabling the bridge link and necessitating some repairs to the vessel. Those who now how to find out these things tell me that the Ocean Carrier is down on some-one's list as being out of service for maintenance until the end of the month. This would seem to be an indication that the story is true. Yet another statisitic on the collision figures, if corrent. When will we start to get this right?


On 9th of this month we were invited to send a representative to the "All Members Meeting" of the Marine Safety Forum. This is a group of people who have interests in the offshore marine environment - that is environment in its broadest sense. The group carry out investigations develop guidance and exchange information, particularly, as the name infers, about safety.

The forum has representatives from the North, South and West of the UK and from the near continent, and it is heartening to see that some quite important people give up their time to attend.

If the group has a fault it is the fact that almost everyone there is inevitably a manager of one sort or another, so when a presentation is made about a new means of avoiding the use of tag lines, there is no-one from the deck of the supply ship to give a view about what is right, or wrong with the system. When the MCA makes a presentation about something called the "HEAT" initiative, where HEAT stands for "The Human Element Assessment Tool" the representatives in the room nod sagely in general agreement with the process. There is no-one from the sharp end screaming "WHAT THE HELL IS THIS ALL ABOUT!!" .

We are also living in a world where accident investigators, possibly without the appropriate training or experience are only too ready to recommend what they see as being a risk reducing measure, and then present the facts to make them fit. Such recommendations, if then transmuted into guidance, tend to give shipmasters very difficult things to do. This is in contrast to the situation many years ago where, for example, a Zapata platform ship rolled over and sank while tied up to a semi-submersible. The DTI at the time was so uncertain about the possible cause that they sent a questionnaire round all the British shipmasters they could find at the time to get a view. The problem turned out to be free surface and overloading due to water in the pipes on deck. 

Hence, if you guys out there have a view all is not lost. It is possible to register with the website, and to tell them what you think, and to that end we have included a link. In our own small way, we try to make a difference to safety offshore, both on the ships and on the offshore installations, and possibly our greatest contribution is communication. So if you have a view, or want to know what is in the minds of your managers, click on the link and register with the MSF.

Vic Gibson



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