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THE ABERDEEN WEBCAM
 

 
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JUNE 2002 NEWSLETTER

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Renaming Ceremonies

A couple of blue ships working out of Aberdeen, one of which has had its funnel markings changed, are also to be renamed. And incidentally, a message to Harrisons, waiting for the other one to be done is like waiting for the second shoe to be dropped in the room above you in a hotel with very thin floors.

So, as well as still waiting for the remarking of the funnels to be completed, we are also for the renaming of the  Stirling Forth and Stirling Clyde They are apparently to be the Inverforth and Inverclyde. We are told that "Inver" is Scottish for estuary - hence Inverness and Invergordon.

Meanwhile, we have been told that the Faeroe Connector is to become the Esvagt Connector once more, which might be a sign that oil exploration off the Faeroes has been abandoned for the time being.

The Offshore Emergencies Conference

In our search for information we have once more been to an offshore conference, in this case to support our role as safety consultants. The topic was the now well explored subject of Emergency Response, and it would not be possible for such a conference to pass without some reference to the BP Jigsaw project, although it was left until the last paper for any new information to be revealed.

The conference was addressed at that time by Allan Graveson, the National Secretary of NUMAST who had a few things to say about the process now under way, of evaluation of the BP proposals by the HSE.

NUMAST of course represents many of the seafarers in board the Emergency Response and Rescue Vessels, now lurking round most on the rigs and platforms in the North Sea. And NUMAST is doing what it can to deal with the problem, given the spectre that a successful change in the provision of emergency cover would substantially reduce the number of ships required.

The National Secretary came to Aberdeen with a complaint and by good fortune he was able to make it to Dr Steve Haddock of the HSE who was chairing the day's proceedings. And this was that the general public, or more specifically the officials from NUMAST, did not have access to the information provided by BP to the HSE in support of the Jigsaw project.

This is because, and here I quote directly from Allan Graveson's paper "It cannot be released because it falls within Part II of the Code, Exemption 14. It is volunteered information and remains the property of the supplier of the information. The guidance contained in the code of practice means that the HSE has to ensure confidentiality of the information supplied."

Where will it all end we ask, trying to remember what is actually happening elsewhere in the world of Jigsaw at the moment. Oh yes! They're building the helicopter. Those interested could do worse than watching this space. 

Collisions

We were also told at the Offshore Emergencies Conference that UKOOA Guidelines on Collision Avoidance, or some such title,  is shortly to appear in the newsagents. This title replaces the previous Guidelines on Collision Management which has a slightly negative connotation.

This is particularly interesting to us, because yet another supply vessel has piled into a platform at full speed causing the most appalling damage to the ship and apparently injuring the Master who was in bed at the time.

This collision does not seem to have appeared anywhere in the marine press and of course may or may not be investigated by the flag state, depending on where the ship is registered, so the information has been passed on by word of computer, and word of mouth.

One must assume that not for the first time the officer of the watch has left the bridge, probably to call the crew so that they can go to work on arrival. The problem is that despite familiarity with the process there still seems to be a general lack of appreciation of the speed of the approach. In addition, the simple precaution of heading for a point at some distance from the rig has not been followed. 

We do risk assessments for oil rigs and their activities, and  constantly try to make the crews aware that it usually takes a combination of events to cause an accident. This particular event can be avoided by heading away from the rig, so that even if the watch-keeper fails to take action as the ship arrives, it will pass harmlessly.       

The Effects of Worldcom on the Rest of the World

We have occasionally had a bit of a rant here about the effect that the pursuit of share price has on the value of life of everybody but the shareholders. The pundits in the financial press are now of the opinion that the recent financial disasters in the United States will have the effect of creating a more honest world were the employees and the clients will get greater consideration.

Of course, we in Britain cannot see this yet because we are in the throes of a power struggle between Gordon Brown, our Chancellor of the Exchequer and the local managing directors of the oil companies. This is because Gordon has put an extra 10% on their tax. Of course everyone is being really stubborn, projects are being cancelled and oil rigs are being dragged into the Cromarty Firth.

 The only people really suffering here are the British employees. Most of the oil companies are North American, most of the construction is carried out in Italy, or Norway or Korea or somewhere, the ship-owners are Norwegian or American and non of the rig owners are British despite the existence of the British Rig Owners Association. Oh, except BP.

Arrivals

Every month now new vessel arrive from the yards. this month's most amazing craft was the Northern Canyon which boasts 10,500 bhp. Back in the 1960s ships two or three times the size had about a quarter of the power available. Why do they need all this horsepower?

The chances are that they need it to maintain station in extreme weather and they need it to hold position when they are being kept in place by a DP system which, even though it is electronically sophisticated just cannot replace the human brain for the ability to anticipate a future event.

hence the event must be taking place before the system can sense it and react against it, so it then takes much more power to stay in position, and then a lot to counter the over-reaction which has just taken place.

No, no!! say the DP enthusiasts. the system can anticipate because it builds up a pattern to which it reacts.

If it did, why does it need all this power? 

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