North Sea ramblings

28 July, 2009 RRS Ernest Shackleton

Greetings from the North Sea, the Shackleton has had a busy time of it since you last heard from us.  After The Norwegian job and demob in Kristiansund the ship headed for Aberdeen where mobilisation with ISS commenced.  They installed two ROV packages on board ready for survey work.  The vessel was moved to Montrose at one point, as Aberdeen could no longer accommodate us.  It was quite a hectic time for the ship and everyone was glad when she finally slipped her moorings and headed out to sea again.

We were aiming for the Gryphon field NNE of Aberdeen about 12 hours steaming away. When the ship arrived a few tests and calibrations of equipment were undertaken thereafter the ship moved in close to the Gryphon-A FPSO and commenced her sub-sea work with the ROV’s.  This work involves visual inspection and other tests of all sub-sea installations in the area. They are mainly looking for degradation, damage and leaks.

On the 6th July the Ships crew changed out via helicopter. Something we have all trained for but seldom actually do.  So there were a few nervous looking faces at the Heli-port in Aberdeen prior to the flight. It all went well in the end and was no great hardship. The handovers were rather rushed though as there was not much time between flights.

Once on board it was time get familiar with operations again and loads of strange new faces that had seemingly taken over “our” ship. We did our best at reclaiming our territory.

The vessel was soon moving back in close to the FPSO and the ROV’s back in the water. We continued working in the Gryphon A area for the next three weeks in mostly good weather, interrupted only occasionally by heavy seas and the odd helicopter visit.

We also did a cargo transfer from the Gryphon for fresh supplies that had been landed on her by supply boat. A few “volunteers” then emptied the containers on the heli-deck. There was loads of fresh produce for Chefs Danny and Julia to work there magic with. Unfortunately there was no re-supply of well-wooded Cabernets, Chardonnays or cheeky Bordeaux’s. We can hope can’t we?

This sub-sea work continued with the Shackleton moving in and out and roundabout the FPSO to give the ROV’s access to the underwater structures.

On Saturday the 25th, after a very successful time at Gryphon, the vessel departed and headed south for about 60 miles to the Dumbarton field where we are currently involved in more sub-sea survey again in the area around the Global Prducer FPSO.

There is a crew change due on the Monday the 3rd of August for which we are all hoping we will get a port call.

That’s about it for the moment from the Schakleton.  Our crew be will signing off next week and we leave you in the hands of  Capt. John Harper and his team for the next few months.

Words and Images by Pat O’Hara