North Sea 2011

3 August, 2011

The Shackleton has been through quite a lot since you last heard from us down south.  We departed Stanley in April and headed North for warmer climes. We had an unscheduled stop in Cape Verde for fuel on the way north. We were only in port for a few hours before heading off on our journey once again.

On arrival in the UK in early May there was a crew change and rapid preparations for the annual FMEA trials. These trials went mostly well with a few minor recommendations. Thereafter the vessel headed off to Dry-dock in Denmark.  Another few weeks of hectic activity ensued and after completion the vessel headed for mobilisation in Aberdeen. This season the Survey Company Fugro has hired the vessel. The vessel was very soon out at sea again on its first job. Things have gone quite well with all of the clients objectives achieved so far.

We had another crew change on the 1sttof July in Aberdeen and headed out for the Beryl field where we worked around that platform and sub sea structures for a while.

Thereafter we headed to Dusavik in Norway near Stavanger to do a client crew change and pick up some equipment. We then headed out to BALDER FSU to do more sub sea work plus the exchange of an Azimuth Thruster pod on the underside of this huge vessel.

This job involved the ROV’s coupling up cables from the surface to the already lowered old pod and then bringing it slowly up the back of the vessel via winch cables. It was then transferred onto a standby boat. This vessel also had the new unit on its deacks and this was eventually hooked up and suspended from the winch of the Bard. High wire rope workers were then employed to rig up the cabling and release mechanisms. It was eventfully lowered down beneath the vessel and the hydraulic release mechanisms activated to release it from the stern winches.

The Thruster was then winched up into position by cables that run right through the ship. It is then mechanically attached to its drive mechanism on the inside of the vessel.

We are due to leave this field in the Norwegian sector around the 10th of August and head for Aberdeen. We will have a short stopover there before heading off to do about two weeks work in the Southern Sector.

It has been a very busy season for all of us on board. Already there is talk of our trip south at the end of the year and next Antarctic season and cycle continues.

This crew, under Captain Ralph Stevens, will be signing off at the end of August

Words and Images P’O’Hara