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May 29 - Destination Lerwick

Date: Tuesday 29th May 2007

Position @ 1200 Local (GMT): 57°45.5 North, 001°47.9 Eest. At sea.
Next destination: Lerwick, Sshetlands.
ETA: 6th June 2007 10h00.
Distance to go:N/A Not a direct route.
Last Port. : Aberdeen
Current weather:Overcast.
Sea State: Moderate Seas, Moderate Swell
Wind : North Easterly, 20 Knots.
Barometric pressure: 1003 Hpa
Air temperature:10..2 C
Sea temperature: 9.6c

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Up to date position information is available courtesy of ‘sailwx/info’ taken from our Metrological Observations..


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Greetings once again to all those forlorn followers of this web page, we hope there are still some of you left out there. Apologies for the rather long gap between missives but we have had a rather hectic time of it over the last few weeks.

When you last heard from us we were heading towards Vigo in Portugal to pick up a few landlubbers from BAS who would accompany us or on the last leg of our journey back home. We duly arrived on a calm and misty morning and waited just outside the port for the launch to bring our guys out. Once all were on board we headed up North towards the Bay of Biscay. Luckily for us this year it was to be a smooth passage.

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We finally arrived back at Immingham docks which is not one of the most aesthetically appealing places on our good planet earth, to a tumultuous welcome by a few Seagulls and some rather disinterested and unimpressed looking dockworkers. Another glorious return from our adventures down south.

After a few delays the cargo work began and the first trickle of contractors made there way on board. What had been our ship for a good few months was about to be taken over and transformed in a very short time. We now entered a period of intense activity as we sadly removed our Antarctic caps and donned our North Sea headgear and not to mention full PPE (personal protection equipment). This transition which takes place annually is always a bit difficult for us, as what we have come to know as “our” ship is taken over. Mercifully the process is pretty much automatic and the contractors come in a steady stream and start doing their stuff and very soon we are involved and included in all the activity as things start to take shape.

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ROV's being loaded into place on deck

The main objective from the vessels point of view is to get the vessel ready to run on full DP (Dynamic positioning) and have all our systems checked and tested officially. This is done during the FMEA trials that test the DP systems thoroughly by failing sections of it and seeing how the DP desk reacts and responds to these failures. During trials this year off Immingham a Thruster problem was identified which resulted in a large amount of work done being on the DP Desk and the Thruster Electronic Control systems once we arrived in Aberdeen. These modifications all went well and upon testing the problems encountered previously were no longer there.

DP Desk ROV's deployed Light Tautwire (LTW)

From the client’s side the main task was to install all the communication equipment required all over the ship and to prepare the Three ROV (Remote Operated Vehicles) units for operations onboard. This involves placing three containers in the hold from where the ROV’s are controlled plus the installation on deck of the actual ROV units. These comprise of launching platforms for the ROV’s with all their attendant electronics and hydraulic plumbing. Unfortunately this year, things have not gone too smoothly in the ROV department and we had several delays and visits to ports from Peterhead to Aberdeen to Dundee and back to try and get the problems sorted out.

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Views of Aberdeen and some unique vessels

Finally on the Saturday the 26th May we left Aberdeen and after a short trial period headed off towards the Oil fields. As things stand this Sunday morning we are alongside a platform in good weather with two ROV’s in the water and things are looking good. So now, hopefully, the only delays that we will encounter will be due to adverse weather conditions.

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As for the ships crew, we will be doing something new this year whereby we change out on a 28 day rotation system during the North Sea period. This is to get us inline with general practices in the North Sea. It has mostly been well received by those on board and especially for the incumbent crew who will now be changing out on or about the sixth of June and then back again in approximately twenty eight days.

This will be my last missive from the Shackleton for this trip. I hope you have enjoyed sharing our experiences with us.

I will hand you over to StevieB to keep you entertained for the next month.


What's In Store:

We will continue with our North Sea program for next few months and thereafter we will go into the refit and dry-docking program.


Thank you for bearing with us and we hope that we have given you something of interest to see and read.

Pat O'Hara

Radio Officer.