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09 Sep - A short notice charter

RRS Ernest Shackleton Diary

Position at 1200:Aberdeen Harbour
Conditions: Wind NNw'ly 2-3kts; Barometer 1018.8 mb Falling; Air Temperature 13.6°; Cloudy, fine and clear.

Asset Map

Chipping and painting ready
to travel South. Click to enlarge.A quiet start to the week alongside regents quay in Aberdeen. Chipping and painting continued and the ship is looking good ready for the trip south to the Antarctic. "Topside and Boottopping" is almost complete.

Stad Amsterdam in
Aberdeen. Click to enlarge.Tuesday saw the arrival of the sailing ship Stad Amsterdam to the harbour and we were impressed with the capability of her young crew. Our friendly and ever inquisitive young seal also swam up enthusiastically to greet and to see what was going on. You may just be able to make out a small grey speck in the water in front of the Stad Amsterdam. That is him swimming furiously towards the ship!

On Wednesday the peace was broken by a charter at very short notice to load ROV equipment and specialist personnel and proceed to the Chestnut oil field. We were to investigate a sub sea problem for the Amerada Hess oil company. We departed Aberdeen 0030 Thursday morning.

ROV being lowered into the water.
Click to enlarge.On arrival at the Chestnut field we went into dynamic positioning mode and the ROV was lowered. ROV stands for Remotely Operated Vehicle. It is a vehicle that can move under the water. It has floodlights, a mechanical arm, a propulsion system and cameras. The vehicle is operated by an ROV pilot who sits in a seat in the blue container on deck and manouvers and operates the vehicle.

The problem at the site was a rope that had become knotted and twisted around a subsurface loading buoy. This was at a depth of approximately 75 metres. Basically the ROV pilot had to remotely unknot a bundle of string 75 metres beneath the surface - with a robot! This was eventually achieved in about thirty hours which took vast amounts of patience, concentration and skill. Finally with the job completed, we set course for Aberdeen but were advised that Aberdeen Harbour was full and we were therefore diverted to Dundee and arrived early Saturday evening.

Tonight we leave for Newcastle and expect to be at Wallsend on Monday morning for annual maintenance.

Finally may I introduce Crew Member:

Able Seaman Murdo Nicolson.
Click to enlarge.Able Seaman Murdo Nicolson
Murdo is single and comes from the Outer Hebrides. When he is home, he is a crofter looking after his flock of sheep. He is also a keen sea angler.

North Sea Diary 18 will be written on September 17 and should be published on Monday September 18.

Vince J