Archive for January 2013

More Lerwick HDR   30 comments

Yes I know, but I promise it will be the last, First up is an old church that is now the Shetland Library, tried it in B&W first, I love the way you can see all the books through the windows.

Old church new Library



Then in colour with a bit of vignette going on.


Old church



Last was one from the harbour that caught my eye.




Have a great weekend everybody, we have a busy one lined up, we are out socialising tonight and tomorrow night, just hope we can remember how to do it.

Posted January 25, 2013 by rigmover in Scotland

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Rig Move for Dummies.   26 comments

Well after another successful rig move in the North Sea I thought it was about time I shared some more details about how and why we move these things, Why? well that’s easy, drill more holes! Get more Oil/Gas. Actually it’s not just that, a lot of rig moves will be to work on and repair sub sea assets, more about that if I ever find out more about that.

This last move was a re-entry, meaning we were putting the rig back on a location that had been drilled/worked on before. Sounds easy? Sort of, That is if you get it on the correct location, it’s easy to tell once you send a ROV down because you will see the assets on the sea bed, Tolerance on this sort of move is about 1 meter, on the other hand if it’s an open location, (meaning nothing on the sea bed) tolerance is around 5-10 meters.

For those of you who don’t know, a Semi-submersible (half above water, half below) drilling rig is held in position by 8 or 12 large anchors, around 12-15 tons, these are spread out around the rig evenly, So after the normal safety talks and meetings it’s time to start, we normally use 2 or 3 AHV’s (Anchor Handling Vessels, a Big Boat) These vessels all have Nav systems onboard, basically a laptop where they can see the rig, the anchor positions and themselves and the other AHV’s all live, if they move in the water they move on the screen.

For the first part of the move the AHV will come in close to the rig and we will past down the PCP (Permanent  Chasing Pennant), This is a collar permanently attached to the anchor chain and a 150 meter cable with a socket in the end, once passed down the the AHV it is attached to the boats work wire.

Here you can see a PCP wire cable running down the leg and into the water, when it appears again, it’s the short bit of chain and then the collar.
Sedco 704 PCP


The AHV’s work wire running down the deck. I took this shot while we were just standing by, if we had been working I would not be allowed on the back deck.



Once attached, the AHV will proceed out to the anchor following a line on the nav screen.

Now another thing we had to do on this rig move was De-ballast before any anchors were recovered, why I hear you ask? Either you asked that question or were so bored you have already gone onto the next blog, but i’ll tell you anyway.

So what happens is, the anchor is lifted off the sea bed, brought up to the stern roller of the AHV, checked out and then the rigs large winches will haul in the anchor chain and store it in the chain lockers, but what do we do with the anchor then? we need to put it somewhere, so we rack it on these things.

Trans RatherJust under the fairleads (the wheels with the anchor chains going through) is the cowcatcher, (not sure if thats the real name for them) this is where the anchors are racked, they hook under the CC and the winch pulls tight and they don’t move. Now  some of you will see the problem here, I’ll show you another photo of the rig we just moved at transit draft, meaning it’s de-ballast.

Stena Spey

Now you see the problem, if we don’t de-ballast, the fairleads and the cow catchers are under water and we can’t see them to rack the anchors. You can see here how the rig floats in the water when it’s at working draft by the marks on the legs, this is now at transit draft, up on the pontoons ready for towing.

Now to get the rig up to transit draft is just a matter of pumping out all the water and up she comes, now you are waiting for me to say, Ah but it’s not as easy as that, and no it is really that easy. Oh but there is one sticky bit, the whole process of de-ballasting can take up to 12 hours and during a 3-4 hour period when the cross braces are coming out of the water is the critical time, during this time the rig is very unstable, no helicopters can land and no cranes and work, in fact if like me and you had to many mince pies at xmas you have to get yourself a PP (Porky Partner), now during the critical stage your PP must be at the opposite side of the rig to you, I work forward so my PP has to work aft, he wants to go to the mess for lunch on the port side, I have to go sit on the starboard side, it’s easy once you get use to it, during this very rig move I forgot to tell my PP I was going for a salad, I was in the mess and suddenly in he walked, the look of shock and horror on his face said it all when he saw me………..eating the last of the chocolate double ripple ice cream. Ok I just made that last bit up but the rest about the helicopters and cranes is all true.

Once all the anchors are racked and a boat is on the tow bridle we can start the move, here is a racked anchor. You can see one racked and the other chain where that anchor has been removed.


It’s as simple as that, all in a days work, or 10.

P.S. You know I don’t mean the dummies bit.

Posted January 23, 2013 by rigmover in My Work

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HDR Friday   18 comments

Yes I know it’s supposed to be iPhone Friday but i’m getting into this HDR stuff.

Stretch commented yesterday on the work that goes into making these boats so thought I better show this one, probably made for the museum behind me (in the photo not now). gives you an idea of the skill these people must have and the amount of work that goes into building such a craft.





This one is a closer look at the stone hut on the pier, again because of the rain and wind I didn’t hang around to read any signs so not sure exactly what its for, at a guess I would say a place to work on nets or small machinery as the doors are not big enough to fit a boat in. Nice looking building though.





Posted January 18, 2013 by rigmover in Scotland

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Lerwick HDR   19 comments

Made it home again in one piece, landed at Scatsa in the Shetlands via helicopter only to hear on the news that one had crashed in London killing two people, not good to hear at any time.

Rig move went well, a few problems with one anchor which added a couple of days onto the job, but other than that smooth sailing.

Below is a couple of shots I took while in Lewick waiting on weather, I just downloaded the trial version of Nik’s HDR Efex Pro 2 and though I would try it out on a couple, these shots were taken around 4 o’clock on a wet overcast day so I’m hoping the HDR will brighten them up a bit.

This one of a single small boat caught my eye because I just liked the colours of the thing, behind in the water reflection is the Shetland Museum, I didn’t have chance to visit but it looked pretty cool through the window.

Small Boat



And one of the harbour, this is 7 shots merged together, it’s early days with the software but I’ll keep trying, unless you lot think I should just give up now.

Harbour Lights


Be warned more HDR tomorrow.

Posted January 17, 2013 by rigmover in Scotland

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iPhone Friday   27 comments

For those of you who saw the photo of Archie with the sign around his neck saying he had eaten the floor, here he is again sitting on the new floor (which took me a week to lay) and this time I’m going to embarrass him big time, so here is is saying sorry with Xmas socks on.


So that’s him sorted, here is some more iPhone sort of my journey to work this time.
Started on the tube.


Next stop Heathrow terminal five, sitting in Wagamama’s have dinner and this part of the roof structure reminded me of something out of a Transformers movie.


Then finally after my stop over in the Shetlands made it to the rig, this is our standby boat, every rig and platform in the North Sea has a standby vessel, these were introduced after the Piper Alpha disaster in July 2008 in which 167 people were killed.


Have a great weekend.

Posted January 11, 2013 by rigmover in My Work

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Washed Up   14 comments

Finally made it to the rig, a 45 minute chopper ride, not sure what the flight was like as I slept all the way.
It’s more hurry up and wait on here as the weather is not good, hopefully we will be able to start tomorrow morning. Just a short job, we think! 24 hours to pull all the anchors, short 4 mile tow and then put them all down again, maybe home by Tuesday.
I found this little harbour while walking around Lerwick the other night, only half a dozen boats moored in it, most very small, this old fishing boat was by far the biggest and as you can see isn’t going anywhere until high tide.


Posted January 10, 2013 by rigmover in My Work

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Lerwick   12 comments

Happy new to you all.
After 7 weeks at home I thought it was time to get back to work, the office phoned, told me about a job North East of the Shetland Islands, sounds good to me!
So I left home on Sunday, major work going on on the tube, big delays, finally made it to Heathrow, now more delays, flight an hour and a half late. Arrived Aberdeen just after midnight. After a quick meeting in the morning it was off to the airport again, and guess what, yeah more delays, this time five hours.
Arrived in the Shetlands at around 1600, chilled for a couple of hours until we were told there would be no helicopter today. 1800 we were put on a coach and taken to a hotel 45 minutes away, checked in, had dinner and went to bed, up at 0530, back to the airport early, now more waiting.
1300 we were told all helicopters cancelled, another 45 minute drive to a hotel.
At least this time it was still light, well almost, I had to get out, hat and coat on I braved the Islands winter weather, with light fading fast I made my way to the harbour, not a lot to see and even less to photograph, I managed to click off a few, but nothing to write home about, cold wet and now hungry I made my way back to the hotel, and this was all I had to show for it.


This looked like a nice street to do a bit of shopping, but all I could manage was window shopping as everything was closed.

Posted January 8, 2013 by rigmover in My Work

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2012 in review   2 comments

Thanks everyone, I’ll try to keep it up.

Here’s an excerpt:

4,329 films were submitted to the 2012 Cannes Film Festival. This blog had 25,000 views in 2012.(not bad for nine months) If each view were a film, this blog would power 6 Film Festivals

Click here to see the complete report.

Posted January 2, 2013 by rigmover in London

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