A BIG SHIP
Sandefjord recently entered service. It is the latest for K Line (The
Norwegian branch of Japanese company Kawasaki Kisen Kaisha) from STX
and is different for a variety of reasons. It has been billed as having the
greatest bollard pull of any anchor-handler ever, at 390 tonnes, and this is
achieved by the hybrid propulsion system. The ship is provided with two main
engines developing about 15000 kW which can be used for driving the
propellers and, here's the difference, there are also five generators which
can be used via electric motors to enhance the power and therefore provide
the driving force to produce the record bollard pull. It also has everything
else you could possibly want in spades. It is 95 metres long. It has a wire
rope capacity of 21000 metres of 76mm rope or a synthetic rope capacity of
more than 2000 metres of 200mm rope. It is billed by the owners as being
suitable for towing subsea ploughs, which might be the best thing it could
be doing. It would be worrying for the OIMs of the average mobile unit to
have a ship larger than it is, pulling up alongside.
rumoured that the offshore industry is in a state of distress because the
HSE OSD (Health and Safety Executive - Offshore Safety Division) have
suggested that the average weight of an offshore worker is 100 kg. For the
British this is a weight of nearly 16 stone, for the Americans it is about
220 lb. Why does this matter? The SOLAS criteria suggest that the weight of
the average seafarer is 75 kg (12 stone, 168 lb) and hence the sizing of
lifeboats is generally based on this size. In the Uk sector of the North Sea
the PFEER Regulations (Prevention of Fire and Explosion and Emergency
Response Regulations) require that the there be lifeboat seats for 150% of
the personnel on board, and of course in most cases the lifeboats were put
in place in the early 1990s with seating numbers based on the SOLAS
standard. Hence if there were 100 people on the rig all weighing 75 kg the
total notional weight available would be 11250 kg. If the average weight was
100 Kg there would be 112.5 seats giving an available POB (personnel on
board) of 75. You cannot run a rig today with 75 people.
it had more or less been accepted that the average weight might be 96 Kg and
people had begun to install bigger lifeboats, and use spare lifeboat space
if it was available by adjusting the evacuation procedures. Even this weight
seemed a little over the top. The food on rigs is good, and abundant so it
is no wonder that people put on weight, but an average weight if 100 Kg
suggests that lots of people weigh more than that. Surely if this was the
case they would not all fit into the helicopters.
Now and again the media
goes on a bit about piracy when something new happens. The something new
this month is the fact that some Korean commandoes boarded a Korean chemical
tanker and killed a number of pirates with no loss of life themselves, or of
the crew of the ship. The ship was owned by the same company which had
recently paid $6.5 million to recover a tanker. In this case apparently a
Korean destroyer had followed the hijacked vessel for some days before the
attack was launched. So what next one wonders. Some of the experts in this
rather unusual field suggest that making a fight of it will endanger the
lives of the seafarers already imprisoned, or that it will raise the bar in
the levels of violence used. Apparently there are about 30 ships and 690
seafarers currently being held, and the range of the pirates has increased
possibly as the policing actions by the navies of the world has improved.
Receiving lesser coverage are piracy actions in other parts of the world.
Frequently tugs and barges are taken pretty close to Singapore and
individuals are still removed from ships for ransom off the Niger delta. The
question has to be when will it come to an end? Like most other areas of
seafaring we seem to be taking backward steps, leaving seafarers at risk for
one reason or another. We must try to do something about it!
As the western world gets
to grips with the lack of money that is available for it to spend it seems
that pensions are getting quite a bit of attention, and that it is expected
that everyone should work past the old retiring age of 65, so as to reduce
the weight of pensions on the government's coffers. Indeed it seems like a
forgotten dream that people could retire with a handsome pension based on
their final salaries when they were about fifty-five or sixty. Amazingly
this was the case within living memory for those who had contributed to the MNOPF - the Merchant Navy Officer's Pension Fund. I was reminded of all this
by the news that a technician had been airlifted off the FPSO "Skarv Idun"
which was under tow by two Fairmount tugs and had recently left the
area of the Cape of Good Hope. The Skarv Idun appears to be owned by BP and
is to be located on an oilfield in the Norwegian sector, and as far as we
can tell the whole project is years behind time. It may be the delay that
has caused the technician who was lifted off to work beyond his normal
retiring age. He is 73 years old.
Ship Designers have unveiled a new concept, intended to facilitate the
installation and maintenance of offshore windmills a considerable distance
from centres of industry and communications. Apparently wind farms are
likely to be installed miles away from anyone and anything, although this
creates the question which seems to be being constantly raised these days -
how will the electricity get to the national grid? Anyway, the Seawind is a
very large vessel with the capability to increase its draught to flood an
area at the stern. It can carry many windmills and can house 200
technicians. For the first time, except for the Jigsaw project, I have seen
a mention of ARRCs, the large autonomous rescue craft which are carried by
the Jigsaw PSVs. Apparently this vessel, if built will carry some of them.
The graphics available for viewing remind one of the various projects which
came off the drawing board in the 1970s as ship-owners and designers tried
to second guess what the operators might need during the next decade. My
favourite was, and still is, a commercial aircraft carrier which would be
stationed in the Northern North Sea and would be serviced by short take-off
and landing aircraft, and would then distribute the workforce by helicopter.
Victor Gibson. January 2010.
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