Archive for the ‘My Work’ Category
I haven’t done an iPhone post for a while, mainly because I forget my phone is a camera, I know this sounds strange but when I have a camera around my neck I just don’t even think about my phone/camera, so to get around this I left my camera at home last weekend while I was in Malta.
So here’s a bit of Malta on an iPhone.
And of course doors, I can’t walk pass door with character without taking a snap.
Have a great weekend.
In my last post I said it was another successful rig move, and it was. But it wasn’t all plain sailing.
After the removal of all seabed fastenings and having one AHV connected to the tow bridle, the Loke Viking and Brage Viking departed for Aberdeen, we were left with the tow vessel to do the, ah towing, and the Odin Viking, it was our ‘just in case boat’. Odin would stay with us all the way to Norway, we were pleased about this as we were heading into some pretty bad weather. Sam and I are not really needed while we are under tow but its nice to keep an eye on things and we are doing just that when at 2000 on the dot there was this very loud twang and the rig shudders, we both look at each other just as the radio comes to life, it’s the tow vessel with the news you don’t want to hear. “the tow wire has just snapped”.
We immediately take a fix of our position and then our position is plotted onto a chart, ok we are about 10 miles from the coast and we are drifting at 3 to 4 knots an hour toward land, not good. We have about three and a half hours to get under control. Onboard there are things called rocket lines, we had six of them, the Odin Viking was called in as close as possible, now its a force 9 to 10 outside,(thats 54 mile an hour winds and 7-10m waves) pitch black and raining and these guys have to fire a rocket line at what looks like a very small target bobbing up and down and rocking side to side, out of the six lines two failed to go off and the other four missed there target, so now the Odin has a go, after all he is aiming at a bigger target, most miss. The last one, the one i’m looking at out the window makes contact, Sam and I and another bloke rush outside and grab the line, we coil it up and pass it on to the deck crew, they attach a buoy and stronger line to it and the Odin pulls it over, well thats how it should of worked, unfortunately the line breaks and we are no closer to safety, but closer to land. While all this was going on the Norwegian Coast Guard has been called and a rescue helicopter is scrabbled and on route, but that is still an hour out.
The next option was to drop an anchor on the seabed to slow our drift, now this isn’t as easy as it sounds, the seabed of the North Sea is criss crossed with pipelines and cables and other assets and we were only 3 miles from a major gas pipeline, but the decision was taken and it was given the go ahead, in this sort of weather and as the rig was at transit draft (high in the water) we could not use the cranes, so out with the gas axe, (a pennant is connected to the anchor and rig and this is what had to be cut) once cut the anchor winch was released and the anchor fell to the seabed, everybody was watching the screen for the telltale sign the anchor was making a difference, slowly the heading started to change and the speed drop, we slowed to 1.5 knots, that gave us 2 hours before we reached the pipeline.
By now 15 lucky or unlucky people had been picked for the first rescue chopper, one of us had to go and after some discussion Sam opted for the first chopper, I was going with the ‘better the devil you know’ option. I don’t like getting on a helicopter in nice sunny weather, never mine in a storm. After a manly shake of the hand and pat on the back off Sam went to get suited up in his survival gear, 30 mins later the chopper arrived on location, it had a go at landing but that wasn’t going to happen, so a guy comes down on a winch, he informs the 15 that they will be going up two by two on the winch into the Sea king, we watched all this on the TV monitor and thats when I knew I had made the right decision.
Once the coast guard rescue operation had finished a plan was hatched to let out around a 1000 meters of wire from the winch to the anchor we were dragging along the seabed and the Odin Viking would use a J hook connected to his work wire and try and grab the anchor wire, sounds impossible? No, on the third attempt the Odin Viking successfully hooked the wire and carefully winched it and eventually the anchor onto its deck, there was another 30 minutes or so of holding our breath until all was made secure, the look on everyones faces when that radio call came was priceless. We were back under control with a couple of hours to spare, just another day in the office.
Have to say well done to all involved, all the people on the rig were very professional, worked well together and stayed calm, The Norwegian Coast Guard were as professional as would be expected, and the crew of the Odin Viking, what can I say, the best.
Remember theses guys were working on deck like this, on that night, in that storm. Hats off to them.
I haven’t worked with the Viking boats for a while and to make up for it we had three of them on my last rig move.
The Brage Viking here picking up 4 buoys, these were used to hold the Rigs anchor wire up above assets on the seabed, such as gas or oil pipelines.
This one is the Loke Viking, my Nephew works on here but wasn’t working on this shift, he was chilling in NZ, lucky sod.
Last but defiantly not least is the Odin Viking, here I have zoomed in on the 40 YEARS OF EXCELLENCE painted on the bulkhead, these guys don’t stay in this business for that amount of time if they are ‘ok’ or ‘mediocre’ they have to be the best, and a couple of days after I took this photo this boat showed us why they are the best.
Lives saved and environmental disaster avoided thanks to the Odin Viking, more in Fridays post.
After joining the rig in Gibraltar we sailed down the coast of Morocco past Casablanca and finally finished up just below Agadir, just east of the Canary Islands where the rest of my family were sunning themselves, so close and yet so far.
Once we were close to our final location our helicopter taxi service started again, guys that you had got to know were leaving and new faces appeared on a daily basis and the rig started to get more busy.
These helicopter pilots are good but sometimes they need to brush up on the odd technique, like landing on the deck at night. Lucky for me I was allowed to take my camera out and watch, now i’m not really that much of a helicopter spotter, although I do think they are a great bit of kit and I’m still surprised they can fly, cool to watch but not that cool to fly in.
As always safety comes first and during the six landing and takeoff all helideck crew were in place and at the ready.
Its a lot closer than it looks, I had to lock my hands around the hand rail and grip my camera while the fire crew pushed me forward to stop me from blowing over with the downdraft.
Just a quick post before i’m off again, The good people at CHC Helicopters allowed me to use my camera on the flight back to stunning Malta so I took the opportunity and snapped away, it’s not easy though, trying not to get the refection of your bright yellow survival suit in the window, especially when you are my size.
Our ride to land, thanks CHC.
I had a bit of a crazy day yesterday, it started off ok if not a bit early in Malta, got a flight from there to Heathrow, then after a couple of hours boarded another flight to Aberdeen, so far so good, a couple of hours later I was back at the airport, I checked my bag in and walked through security, grabbed a G&T and sat down, a few minutes later Nico joined me and we raised a glass to another successful rig move, now I’m sitting a few meters from my gate and keeping a good eye on it, once the queue was down to the last few people I jumped up and joined the end, once it got to my turn I showed the nice young lady my boarding card, now this is when it starts to get crazy, she pointed out that I was booked on the one hour earlier flight to Heathrow, there must be some mistake I said and showed her my electronic ticket on my phone, which clearly states my flight was to City Airport not Heathrow, after the system was checked a few more times and two phone calls later I was told they had in fact made a mistake, cool I’m thinking to myself, I’ll just get on the plane and be home in time for dinner………………oh no, you see even though I was standing 20 meters from the plane which was only half full, with the door still open I could not board it, something to do with a time issue, this is when I pointed out it was going to take them longer to get my bag I had checked in off the plane than it was for them to print me a new boarding pass, this is the moment they all looked at each other and franticly started punching buttons on the keyboard, and thats when they found out my bag was on its way to Heathrow, apparently someone with the same name as me was travelling to Heathrow, with my bag. Now I’m pretty laid back and as I was on my way home and not going out to a job losing the bag was no real problem, they could just courier it to my house the next day. (which they have). So just put me on the next flight to City and I’ll be happy, oh no that was the last flight to City that night, we can send you to Heathrow they said, that was not going to work for me, stick me in a hotel and i’ll get a flight to City tomorrow I said, with a few looks and nods and a phone call this was agreed on and I was sent back though to the ticket desk for this to be arranged. I met up with a very helpful young lady called Vicky and she started to organise the return of my bag and a room for the night, now the Scottish open is on this weekend (thats golf if you didn’t know) and every hotel was booked solid, so I came up with another plan, instead of a hotel British Airways can pay for a taxi and I’ll stay at my brothers house, with a few looks and nods and a phone call this was agreed on, Vicky was sorting out the paperwork while I was on the phone to my bro to make sure all was ok, then I had to call my wife and kids to tell them I wasn’t going to be home tonight, finally I signed some papers and was directed to the taxi office, gave them my details and was told no details had come through yet and to take a seat, but I had a better idea, I gave my mobile number and walked to the pub, ordered a large cold one and relaxed.
Now what I didn’t know was for the last hour and half the plane I was supposed to be just getting off in London City Airport was still just outside with a slight technical fault, now I’m about to take my first sip of a well earned drink when in runs a taxi driver with a BA agent and points at me and shouts thats him, she runs up to me and asked if I still wanted to get home, silly question as I’m already on my feet, we run all the way to security where its high heels off (hers not mine) laptop out and belts off, through the scanner and then dressed again, more running to the gate where someone else takes over, then its out to the plane, as I’m walking up the steps the door is opened for me, I step on the plane and given seat 1A, in fact B,C and D the whole front row to myself, the door is closed behind me and off we go, as soon as the seat belt light has gone off a large G&T is placed in front of me and its relax time again, both girls on the plane were fantastic, at one point I asked for a bit of ice and the young lady put her things down and came a sat next to me, I thought she was going to hold my hand when she asked what it was I was after, I said just a bit of ice and with a really good laugh she said I thought you asked for some advice.
Now some people might have found this a bit stressful but there’s not a lot you can do about it, and shouting will never help, I found all the British Airways staff to be very professional and helpful on every level and could never fault them, and if anyone at British Airways reads this, you guys just bumped me down to a blue card, any chance I could go back to bronze, silver would be great.
I have two bits of great news, the first is I’ve had another photo published in the ‘2014 Supplement to OE in partnership with NCE Subsea‘ magazine, it’s this photo.
The other great news is Viking Supply Ships have given me permission to publish on my blog, photos of their vessels, and what great vessels they are, take this one for example, this is the Balder Viking, it’s class DNV 1A1 ICE-10 ICEBREAKER with a 202 tonne bollard pull, yeah an icebreaker, that is so cool. Not only does the paint job make them stand out so does their professionalism, from the Master down they work like a well oiled machine, watching the deck crew work from above is like watching ants, and each ant knows exactly what they are suppose to do and when they are to do it, it can be a dangerous place on the deck of an AHV but safety always comes first.
Here the Balder Viking is circling an iceberg getting ready to tow it out of harms way, the vessel I was on was not an icebreaker and boy was I glad the Balder was around.
This is the Magne Viking, it is 85m in length with a 225 tonne bollard pull, it’s 11 year newer than the Balder, again great crew all round with safety top priority.
Thanks again to Viking Supply Ships.
If I did smoke, I still wouldn’t light up any where near this beast.
Have a great weekend.
As anyone who has read my equipment page will know, I don’t travel with a tripod. There are a couple of reasons for this, the main one is I work at sea, the other is the structure I am standing on is also vibrating a lot with generators and motors always on the go, so night shots are almost never considered by me. That was until I saw this, it’s some steel works somewhere on the coast, and my type of landscape. I like all this industrial stuff!
I managed to find a pipe to lean against and held as steady as I could, this was the result.
First the good news, I’ve had another photo published in a magazine called Interactions, it’s a photo of Archie (my dog) with xmas socks on, which I had placed on my blog.
Now the bad news, I have been told by my employer that I cannot publish photos of rig’s, platforms, & AHV’s, basically anything to do with the offshore industry without prior consent from the owner, so rigmover.com as we know it is no-more!!!! I was thinking of changing it to http://www.heylookatmydog.com or http://www.doyoulikemycar.com but thats just silly. So in the foreseeable future you will have to settle for photos of the sea and maybe the odd sunset, on which I’m sure you will get bored of very quickly.
I have a link to Interocean on my side bar, this is not the company I work for, Interocean use some of my photos on their web site.
This is very disappointing, as I’m sure I have passed on a little of what goes on out there, I have had some great feed back and I thank you all for that.
P.S. Don’t go to far rigmover.com will be back, in some form or another.