Archive for the ‘AHV’ Tag
Last November we towed a rig from Morocco to Tenerife, last time I was in Tenerife it was the middle of summer and I never got to see the island from the sea, it make a nice change to arrive in the winter months and approach from the sea, you get a whole new perspective. We anchored just off Santa Cruz on the South East tip of the island where it is alway lush and green as these shots show.
Another small village, either one I would move to if I could.
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.
It’s been a very busy week, I have my Nephew staying with me, and I have been showing him the sites of London one pub at a time, it’s very exhausting work but someone has to do it.
Back to Gibraltar.
After my walk all over and around the ‘Rock’ I hunted down the guys I was travelling with and looking forward to a long cool beverage was glad to find them near a pub, but just as I got there we had the phone call, we were to join the ship tonight and sail to the rig over night, oh well it was fun while it lasted. We left Gibraltar some time in the early hours and sailed back towards Malta meeting the rig on way, once boarding the rig our boat was swapped over with the tow boat and then that one departed for Gibraltar, towing with one boat was very slow going so by the time it was back to join the tow the following day we hadn’t moved very far. It was another couple of days before we went through the Straits of Gibraltar and ended up being very good timing as it was one of the guys 25th birthday and he had purchased 5 very nice cigars, we finished off the day chilling under the helideck smoking fine cigars and watching the sunset over the Rock.
Have a great weekend.
Last month, while on another successful rig move we had the pleasure of watching some very heavy lifts going on, now when I say pleasure, I mean in the geeky sort of way, watching a crane lift something is not everyones height of entertainment, but for me it’s cool, and even cooler when you think about this being done at sea, most of us have seen a crane on the high street getting ready to do a lift, the first thing the crane does after parking up and the driver having 3 bacon sandwiches and 4 cups of tea is to put out the stabilises, those things in each corner that slide out a meter or so and press down on the ground to level and steady the crane. The thing is you can’t do this at sea, you have to use ballast and one great thing to use as ballast is water.
This is the Saipem 7000 just after completing 4 very complex heavy lifts, one lift being 11,100 tons, thats 500 tons under the world record (which was done by the same vessel). To put that into perspective thats 4080 female Indian elephants. Now to get back to this ballast thing, the Saipem 7000 was fitted with two ballast systems: A conventional pumped system which could transfer up to 24,000 tonnes of water per hour using 4 pumps and a free flooding system. The free flooding system used 2 m diameter valves to open certain compartments to the sea thus trimming or heeling the vessel. This allows the vessel to lift cargoes from barges much faster than if just the crane hoists are used.
This was the second time I have seen a heavy lift vessel, funny enough the first time was the rig move just before this one when I saw the Thialf, this is the largest crane vessel in the world.
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.
I’m back, another successful rig move under the belt, all went to plan and nobody got hurt. We towed the rig into Limassol in Cyprus where we moored it and left it for our last time.
We then joined this boat to go and recover a couple of anchors we had to leave behind, the idea was to recover these anchors in a different way due to assets on the seabed, this operation again all went to plan.
Once all anchors were recovered we headed back to Limassol, looks like someone has been having a bit of fun with the sea break.
I’ve been asked how we go about towing icebergs, or to post about ‘Ice Age Continental Drift’ the Movie, but as I haven’t got permission to post about the movie, you are stuck with more of my iceberg stories.
So first of all, we either get asked by the rig to checkout a likely suspect they have seen on their radar, or we see one ourselves that is posing a risk to the safety of the rig. Once the ice candidate is confirmed we go in for a closer look.
Once confirmed its go for tow the guys on deck get to work.
This is the end of the rope, we use a dyneema rope which is very strong and designed to float (right of shot) with 3 large buoys attached.
Let the tow begin, we will tow this miles away from the rig to a safe place and release it, sometimes bits of the berg will brake off the bottom as we tow and the berg will become top heavy and roll over, on more then one occasion after coming back from lunch I thought we had replaced on berg with another.
There are some icebergs that cannot be towed.
And ones shaped like dogs!
After the last post I was asked about scale, e.g. How big is that iceberg? It’s very hard to get a scale of anything at sea and more so with icebergs as they are not manmade and come in all sorts of sizers and the birds on the last berg could of been Sparrows or Albatross for all I know.
Now thanks to our friend here we can tell this is a very small iceberg, known as a Growler, the next size after this is a Bergy Bit, then Small, Medium, Large and X-Large.
Now this next one is big, you will have to take my world for it as there is nothing in the picture to scale it against, but to give you an idea, we were in a boat with 27,000 horse power and when the tide was against us we moved nowhere, when the tide changed and was in our favour we moved a quarter of a mile, I think we towed this berg for about 3 days.
Under tow, but not moving much.
Here is a guild to test yourself next time you are walking down the high street and see an iceberg.