I am currently carrying
out a major project of updating the information on the site about shipping
companies. I have started at A and might eventually get to Z, which I assume
will be Zapata. I'm trying not to exclude anyone, although I have already
come across one company on which I have no information at all, and can't
find out any. I assume there are lots of these.
I am also trying to
include all offshore marine companies rather than just supply ship owners.
Typically I have included Acergy, which has both owned and managed vessels,
many of which are almost new, and some of which are quite spectacular
designs. Quite near the other end of the scale I have also started to
include the standby boat (ERRV) owners and have just done Boston Putford.
And particular thanks here to our Great Yarmouth photographers without whom
the page would not be very meaningful.
It just shows how things
have changed. Back in the 1970s I was master of a ship working for BP out of
shed 16 in Dundee, running mainly to the Forties Field which was still being
constructed and I remember looking at the brand new Star Aries which used to
sail into all sorts of weather with no problem while we, on our very small
ships could do nothing. Later I was master of the Star Aries, as one of the
older ships in the Star Offshore fleet, and was promoted to be master of a brand new
platform ship the Star Capella, which was really the business in 1983. It
became the number one ship running out of Peterhead to the Thistle platform,
I think for Britoil.
Now these former state of
the art vessels are the Putford Aries and Putford Protector, and I must say
that even in their modified role they still look pretty good. Visitors to
the Boston Putford page may also note that many of these ships are pictured
carrying cargo, so this means that their masters are actually driving these
old ships in the traditional way. They don't have DP. They don't have
multiple thrusters. They are mostly doing the job the way everyone did
twenty years ago.
Regular visitors to the
various areas of this site may have noticed that the Google ads have
disappeared. They have been a feature for nine months, but on
balance I felt that they did not make a sufficient contribution to the
upkeep to be worth retaining.
In some cases I found that
the advertisments had no relationship what-so-ever to the content, and
therefore could not possibly make a financial contribution. For instance if
my name was included anywhere, Google would register it and would include
links to sites selling guitars. And worse really, there seem to be a
multitude of sites directed at personnel serving in the American armed
forces, and as soon as one mentions ship anywhere there is stuff appearing
about the navy, or more likely THE NAVY. Shades of the Village People come
to mind. In addition as soon as you write the word "offshore" you attract
lots of stuff about investing in a way that will avoid tax - what-ever
country you are living in.
On the other hand there
were occasional links to sites which provide a means of recruitment into the
offshore industry, and having removed these from the site I am almost
motivated to try to sell some advertising space directly. Time will tell.
(At the 2013 update it c an be seen that the ads are back - it's because
they are better.)
THE SIEM PEARL
Visitors to the "Picture
of the Day" may notice that the today's offering (Wednesday 14th October) is
a poor picture of the Siem Pearl which I took with the webcam. It was right
at the other side of the dock, and so was on the limit of the possible
telephoto capabilities of the camera.
This is a ship with
everything you could want for anchor-handling. It is extremely large at 91
metres in length it has a bollard pull which is advertised as being 300
tonnes, it has wire and chain capacity for what-ever one could possibly
need. It has a sort of bridge crane on the after deck which is
provided with a couple of very futuristic manipulators which are apparently
intended to make and break the connections in the mooring system. This is
billed in the spec as "safe deck arrangements for cargo and anchor-handling
I noticed that it is not
visible in Aberdeen today, so it may be out there doing something for
some-one, although commendably Siem have an availability list on their
website which says it is still available. Anyway, the point of this item is
that regardless of the specification of a new ship, it has to get out there
and prove itself. And the more stuff its got, actually the more reluctant
people are to hire it, because they know that new equipment has to have its
bugs ironed out. The more hydraulics there are involved, the more bugs there
So best of luck to the
Siem Pearl, and to those who are going to work with it on its first job.
I've been on both ends of this and I know how difficult it can be.
The Spanish government has
taken a new step in the fight against pirates in the seas around the Horn of
Africa. Recently another Spanish tuna fishing vessel Alakrana was overcome
by pirates, and in a rapid action by a Spanish warship two of the pirates
were captured. The Spanish tuna ship is a modern large vessel with a Spanish
master and is registered in Spain. The pirates were captured by a Spanish
warship, so this in that slightly irritating American expression is "having
one's ducks in a row".
Hence the Spanish have
flown the pirates to Madrid. They were on the TV last night, and one assumes
that they are going to be prosecuted and maybe jailed in Spain for their
crime. The pirates who have the ship under their control say that unless
their colleagues are returned there can be no negotiation over the return of
the ship. This is an unusual situation, made quite a bit more difficult by
the fact that the last time a tuna fishing boat was captured the Spanish,
and here I don't know exactly who, paid a ransom of 1,000,000 euros.
Despite the fact that this
piracy as been going on for some time, it is the pirates who seem to be
making progress rather than the combined navies of the world, and we are
almost at the point again that we were before the high profile capture of
the super tanker and the capture and escape of the American registered
Maersk ship. We have to be diligent to find out what is going on.
THE ANGLIAN PRINCE
When the Anglian Prince
was approaching the dock at Ullerpool the other day it broke down. The
master thinking quickly managed to anchor and his engineers went to work to
solve the problem which, according to the media, involved compressors. This
leads one to believe that the problem related to control air, so that even
though the engines were running whey could not be controlled.
This is a really minor
difficulty which must happen to ships all the time. There were no injuries
and there was no damage. Never-the-less, because of the ship's position as
the chartered MCA west coast safey/salvage vessel the event made the BBC
news, and was subsequently reported all over the world. It was originally
the Salvageman, one of United Towing's super salvage ships.
This is hard luck for
Klyne Tugs who own the ship, unless they take the view that no publicity is