Shell recently floated out their Prelude Floating LNG facility, the largest floating object on earth. The coolest thing is, they are already planning a larger version. Here is a great time lapse video from Gcaptain showing the float out from its graving dock at Samsung Heavy Industries. Pretty awesome stuff.
A nice afternoon by the waterfront, available now on http://www.newenglandwatermanphoto.smugmug.com
This is home to me
Well if you are a reader of my blog for the photos, or have a mariner in your life, or are looking for some maritime décor for your home, have I got something for you! As some of you already know my photography has been available for a little while and it still is! Currently unframed 8×10 prints are right around $12! So grab the empty frame sitting in the closet and you have a nice gift for yourself of the maritime inclined person in your life! So check me out at http://www.newenglandwatermanphoto.smugmug.com
Even when not at work I’ve always got an ear open and listening for maritime events, I’m definitely not one of those guys who doesn’t even look at a glass of water at home. So the other night I was emailing away when I heard about a vessel on fire in the oil patch requesting assistance. It turned out to the be the Ocean Patriot a ROV and dive support vessel owned and operated by Oceaneering.
Ocean Patriot working an ROV at the Shenzi field
As it turns out a friend of mine was on one of the primary assisting vessels. He’s the chief mate of the Stim Star III, and no stranger to lending a hand offshore, having already assisted in the rescue of several people off a sinking sports fishing vessel just a few months ago. Via emails he gave me a run down on the situation. The Ocean Patriot suffered a fire in their auxiliary engine room that could not be controlled by the fire team. So the engine room was sealed and the CO2 system was activated. Of the 42 people onboard all but the 15 marine crew were evacuated to a second assisting vessel the Lily Jane. The Stim Star III was asked to stand by due to their large fire fighting system, after all they are a well stimulation vessel that carries thousands of gallons of fairly nasty and flammable chemicals. The other vessels standing by included the Christian Chouest, Amber, Forte, Harvey Pacer, and Harvey Hurricane. He also sent me a few pictures from the scene.
Courtesy of Capt. Jesse Winterbottom
Courtesy of Capt. Jesse Winterbottom
As of yesterday the Ocean Patriot had been towed back to fourchon and all crew was reported safe and well.
Something that people outside of the industry always seem to want to talk about immediately is “what about the holidays, do you just come home for those?” The answer is no, and lets talk about something else, like say how your parent’s divorce affected your childhood? The bottom line is in this job you miss things, you miss the special days, and it sucks. However it is what you make of it. You learn that Christmas morning can in fact be in November, or January, and that it is the people that make a holiday not the mark on the calendar. On the days themselves little things are huge, the seas laying down enough for the satellite phone to work, a care package, just the little things really. For some mariner’s you get big surprises, like having family come down to the dock you are at, and that is really the best. Sometimes you get a wave as you go by, and that really is something that will brighten your day no matter how the hitch is going.
So when my soon to be cousin Chris told us he was coming through the canal the day after thanksgiving, we all bundled up and waited for him at the east end. Sometimes all the holiday cheer you need is a different kind of holiday picture, with everyone still in frame.
A mariner’s holiday family photo
Coming out of the night
Back to work, down east bound
Hornbeck Offshore being on of the major supply boat companies in the gulf of course has one of the more major new build programs. This consists of 20 new generation 300 foot or larger vessels. They are also stretching six of their 200 class vessels to 240 feet and converting them to DP-2. Now of the new builds, half are of an already seen and much lauded STX Tigershark Class built by Eastern Shipbuilding. Several of these vessels have been delivered and have found themselves to be proven performers. Not only in cargo capacity but in the eyes of the crews as a high tech, well designed, and incredibly comfortable platform to live and work on.
However due to demand it would have been impracticable for HOS to have its new build program solely fulfilled by Eastern Shipbuilding. In fact the other half of its new builds are being supplied by VT Halter, a perennial supply boat builder, and the designer and builder of the HOS Commander.
As I have said many a time, the maritime industry is exceeding small, we make the six degrees of Kevin bacon seem like an awful large circle! It didn’t take long for me to find out I had a friend of a friend working about the Commander. What they said will either surprise you, or seem normal depending on your view of the oil patch, and the shipyards associated with it. Essentially, experience may vary.
All in all my source is very underwhelmed with the design, layout, and execution of the vessel. She had been delayed coming out of shipyard and it shows on the interior work of the vessel. “It finish work is garbage and already looks like it has been heavily used”. Aside from fit and finish issues the interior design seems to have very little thought. “Its a 320 ft boat but it has tiny state rooms. Smaller than the 240′s iv been on”. Further more the galley and common spaces leave a lot to be desired. “Galley is small, no storage space, but theres a giant briefing/ theater”. However the worst issue in my opinion, and one that happens again and again, is the overall design and layout of the bridge. This is something i think until recently a lot of american ship builders have failed at. the end user (me, and a lot of people like me) are just never brought in to take a look at a mock up. While the visibility seems to be quite good, that is where the pluses really end. “Its just such a stupid layout. Whoever set up the bridge is a moron and should be fired. All the equipment is hard to reach from the chair, the screens face off into space and a lot of the panels arent even mounted level…” According to my source.
Hornbeck Offshore is another industry leader and frankly I think as such they should expect more for their money. However from a financial standpoint she will be a winner. With 12,000 square feet of deck space, 12 foot high headache racks, capacity for 12,000 cubic feet of dry bulk, 20,000 barrels of mud, and 250,000 gallons of fuel. She’ll certainly make some money. At the end of the day that is make gets HOS paid, and in turn their crews.
Another tigershark from Eastern Shipbuilding, and the first of the new 320 class from VT Halter. More on the Commander from an inside source in a post to come!