THE BOURBON DOLPHIN
As usual when there is a
marine tragedy the media report it as best they can usually without fully
understanding what has happened, what was going on or what marine objects
were involved. However, some sort of an enquiry has bee started in
Norway, and a report on the full investigation will probably be
published in February 2008 we hear.
Bourbon Dolphin page for more.
PIECES IN THE JIGSAW
Regular readers of this
short column, or those who have been interested enough to click back through
the reports from yesteryear will know that we have often commented on the
success or not of the BP Jigsaw project. One assumes it was called Jigsaw,
because those who initiated it saw it as a collection of pieces which
together would serve to replace the conventional standby vessel. Some of the
pieces were helicopters, some very large vessels and the final pieces were
large daughter craft type boats which could be launched from the ships in
the event that rescue of some-one from the water was required.
If this sounds complex it
is, and despite the best efforts of those involved the system is not fully
operational, although one of the standby/cargo vessels has been seen with
two of the "daughter craft" ARRCs - autonomous rescue and recovery craft, on
board. Others are being used as PSVs by the BP cargo operation and this week
one is visible lying at anchor with other off hire support vessels outside
I was surprised to look
back and find that the first mention of Jigsaw was within the text of the
first newsletter I wrote. At that time it was a helicopter based operation
and the backers were considering providing each aircraft with a diver who
would leap into the water with a small motorised surfboard so that he or she
could motor under platforms to pick people up who had fallen under the rig.
These ideas were not very sensible, and now......
THE LOSS OF A TURTLE
Years ago when I was
second mate on a deep sea vessel, I was leaning against the end of the
bridge wing while we drifted off the coast close to an African port, waiting
for the pilot or some such. Of course, being a traditional ship, built
shortly after the second world war, if the ship was stopped the engine was
silent. The sea was completely clear and I could just see the bottom deep
below us. Then out of the gloom a large turtle appeared swimming in our
direction I was fascinated to see it heading directly towards the hull close
below where I was standing, and without even slowing down it swam straight
into us. What bad luck I thought, the poor thing was used to having the
whole ocean to itself, and even I could see that the chances of it hitting
anything as it swam along were pretty low.
Similarly the possibility
of a semi-submersible under tow grounding on the coast of Tristan de Cunha
is also pretty remote, and when I read in "Tug and Salvage" that a semi had
broken free of its towing vessel and grounded in Trypot Bay on one of the
most remote islands in the South Atlantic, and therefore on the surface of
the globe, I was reminded of the event in my past - particularly since the
semi in question was called "A Turtle".
The rig was apparently on
its way from Brazil to Singapore, and you have to look at the chart of
the southern ocean to see that this misfortune was either extremely bad luck
or extreme foolishness on the part of the towing vessel. The salvage team who were employed to
remove it spent 50 days refloating it, towed it away and sank it in deep
water. So now "A Turtle" is no more.
The new trend in
accommodation ships continues. We reported recently on the Ice Maiden and
its intended use as an accommodation unit in the North Sea. Apparently the
gangway is on the bow, and it is going to maintain station using its
multiple thrusters powered by the engines in its four engine rooms. It is
more than DP III (and if you only have a sketchy understanding of what the
DP numbers mean I believe we have some articles about the subject in
Hot on its heals, in
nautical terms, comes the news that Edda are to build a vessel to follow the
Edda Fjord, after the success of the latter in support of the Bonga project
in Nigeria. This is a purpose built ship with accommodation for 600 workers.
The owners have suggested that it will work mainly in tropical waters. This
is a really new sector which has been virtually untapped in the past, the
industry relying on moored semi-submersibles in the main.
There again, perhaps the
operators in the Arabian Gulf thought of it first. Out there it used to be
fairly common for small ships to be equipped with a few portacabins on the
stern which could be filled with unfortunates from India, Pakistan or
Bangladesh, and notably on one occasion, an old Italian anchor handler had
its cement tanks ripped out, to be replaced with bunks for 60 workers.
Of course, they were just tied up to the boat landing which was very much
simpler that having multiple engines churning away all the time.
ONE FOR THE BOOK
The Telegraph - monthly
magazine of Nautilus the UK marine officers union - recently published the
news that subsequent to appeal the sentence on a ship master of £53,000 was
lifted on appeal. Why - the substances which were discharged from his vessel
were allowed by the Marpol convention.
While the master
was relieved, is he going to get compensation for the six years of misery
resulting from his incorrect conviction? We suspect not.