Our site is using cookies to record anonymous visitor statistics and enhance your user experience. OK |  Find out more

Skip navigation

09 Jun - Nautical Hokey Cokey

Date:  Sunday 09 June  2002.
Position @ 1200 (UTC): Offshore Spurn Head, Southern North Sea
Next destination: Continuation of sub-survey of 30" gas and 3" methane pipelines to Amethyst Field.
ETA: Next Port of Call to be published later this month.

Current weather:  Overcast with sunny spells and heavy squalls of rain
Wind:  Southerly 25 knots.
Barometric pressure:  1003.3 mb and steady
Sea state: Moderate, short and choppy swell
Air temperature:  13.2°C.
Sea temperature: 14.6°C.

No Position Reports are available during our stay in the North Sea since we cease doing meteorological observations.

Click on map to magnify detail.


''You put your Red Ship in,
You put your Red Ship out.
In. Out. In. Out,
You shake it all about !!!''

This last two weeks have been very busy for RRS Ernest Shackleton. Arriving in port on Wednesday 22 May and leaving to go to sea again on Tuesday 28 May. Then after the DP Trials (reported last week), it was back alongside in Immingham on Wednesday 29 May. We finally finished the mobilisation on Tuesday 04 June and slipped out of the dock gates only to return there for modifications again on Wednesday 05 June. After an overnight alongside, we went back to sea on Thursday 06 June. In. Out. In. Out. But as to 'shaking it all about', we've thankfully been spared any of the foul weather that the North Sea is reputed to have. But we have had thick fog from the 06th to the 09th of June in the approaches to the River Humber!

RRS Ernest Shackleton at sea on a Foggy seaday !

Sunday 02 June and the ship was still alongside Immingham quay No.3 and working hard to complete the mobilisation work in good time to start the Supply Time 89 Charter for Stolts. Tasks included completing the installation of a very large blue ROV crane on the starboard aft side and getting approval for the installation. Then there was completion of the ROV installation and testing thereof to achieve. The ROV is the biggest we have had on board the ship before and is 6 tonnes of remotely operated hardware for inspecting the pipelines between the offshore installations and the shoreline. It boasts an impressive array of statistics.

Click on image to enlarge view of ROV crane aft.

After the tests of last week, more waterbags were called for as we needed to load-test the ROV cranes alongside on Sunday, and Monday was spent in final preparations. By Tuesday morning, we were finally ready to pull away from the quayside to test the ROV's in the water. The ship pulled off and tied-up port-side onto the opposite quay, Quay no.10, until the Pilot boarded and we departed the Dock gates for the Humber Estuary and away to sea.

Wavey-Davey's Weekly Whit-spot

The website must apologise for the lack of authentic Wavey-Davey jokes this period, but in truth, Wavey-Davey has gone onto the graveyard shift ! Since Davey works now from 1800-0600 hours, he is not ever-present to make his colleagues on the bridge groan under a barrage of ghastly jokes. Therefore it is the part of one our readership to step into the breach and adequately fill the size 10 Jalette boots of Davey by proffering the following awful offering :-

Davey could have said - 'What do you call a reindeer who is 'optically challenged' - ie. Blind ???'

Answer - 'No idea' !!

(Oh dear Davey, you are about to lose your crown as 'King of the awful jokes').

Back on the Ernest Shackleton

The survey mobilisation in Immingham proved to be very difficult, and demanding for most involved. The ship seemed to be undergoing major surgery with the removal of the ROV crane and the fitting of a new purpose built one for the larger and much heavier ROV - SOLO II. For me the boat seemed much the same as I had left her two years ago. Plenty of new faces on board, I sailed last time with the ships "other" crew. When I join a boat in harbour like this they never look their best, as all sorts of work is normally going on. For us (the project team) this is quite normal - but here we all were ripping this boat apart to accommodate all our equipment. Quite an intrusion for those whose "home" we had moved into. But when we leave, apart from all the cabling under the deckheads- no one will ever know we were here - it will all be a dim and distant memory!

We finally left Immingham and set to work, after a few teething problems we were all back into the groove - The vessel's DP desk dusted off for action, in the long trips to the south the vessel is never on Dynamic Positioning. Luckily the first part of the work enabled us to have terrestrial television so we all were able to watch some of the World Cup football - as this is all that seems to be on the TV. 

Now we are already one week at sea, and I find I am already thinking about the first crew change - looming up very quickly, - thankful for this comfortable home with an excellent restaurant, and good sports facilities - the now famous badminton court.

Click on the image to enlarge - (photo courtesy of Mike Gloistein's archive).

Author : Andy Fletcher - Technical Rep.

I believe everyone on board the Ernest Shackleton was relieved to finally get to sea. The mobilisation had taken longer than anticipated and we were all mindful that the work program was still to be started. Once at sea, the ROV's would start working, the data would start coming in, and the sense of achievement would finally be....well....achieved. But it was not to be. During the calibration period 20 miles offshore the Humberside coastline, several difficulties manifested themselves. The ROV crane was putting a strain upon the umbilical during the launch and recovery operations. This would call for modifications by welders. An antenna for the DGPS positioning system needed re-siting, and ongoing 'fine-tuning' of the DP desk all dictated a return to Immingham to effect the repairs. Luckily the distance to the coast was only 1½ hours steaming and the Pilots could be boarded almost immediately to take us back into dock. So at 18.00 hours on Wednesday we recovered the Solo ROV to the deck and travelled back up the Humber Estuary to the Port. It was envisaged that our stay in Immingham would only be 4 or 5 hours, but having arrived alongside at 2200 hours, we did not depart again until 0800 hours the following morning (Due to Ferry traffic having the priority). Once on location (see location map above for 'Amethyst'), we conducted the pre-work tests and trials, launched the SOLO ROV and finally went to work.
Details of the Remote Operated Vehicles at work will be produced next week (Week 3).

Your Driver Today Will Be.....

Whilst in the North Sea, the vessel calls in a team of Specialist Officers or Dynamic Position Officers (DPO's).  The BAS Officer's also take a turn at the DP Desk and although not pictured here, Captain John Marshall, and Navs, Alan Newman equally get to operate the ship when on Dynamic Positioning.

A Serious Outbreak of DPO's has been Reported on North Sea Vessel.

Captain Lidvin Larsen : Is a Norwegian and possibly the longest-serving Officer onboard the Ernest Shackleton - or should I say the Polar Queen.  Lidvin was 1st Mate on the ship when it first went to sea in 1995.  Lidvin lives in ValsoeyBotn near Kristiansand in Norway where he has his family and a rather lovely doggie called 'Nick'.

DPO Leask : Dougie is a regular Officer on the Shackleton, and is a 'Sheltie' from the Shetland Islands where he has his boat Xtraneous.  From Lerwick, Dougie's love is his sailing when he's not at sea ???!!  Talk about a 'busman's holiday'.

DPO Price : Another Douglas, and Dougie is from Scotland.  Presently living on his boat - another one - Dougie is from the River Irvine in Ayrshire, Scotland, where he is spending his time in renovations to his own vessel Zenobia.

DPO Geuze : Johan is a Dutchman and when asked 'Where From', Johan said 'All over the world'.  Guess what ??? Johan lives on his Boat !!!.  What is wrong with these people ???  Johan's vessel SeaCloud is a sailing vessel which is presently found in Florida.. Now here is a man of sense.

DPO Gooberman : David DOESN'T HAVE a boat !! But he is a keen surfer and windsurfer when he is not on board the ship, and at home on the Isle of Man.  His loves are his mountain bike, his family and he is anticipating twins later this year.

DPO Kerr : Another David, and Mr. Kerr is from Newcastle 'mon'...  When asked what boat David has, he said 'none at all.  He already supports a wife, 2 kids and a football team....no time for boats when he is at home !  Good man.

Captain Marshall and Nav's Alan Newman : are the remaining members of the DP team, and live in Scotland and Ireland respectively.  This is a multi-national team indeed...one Norwegian, one Dutchman, two Scots, a Manxman, a Sheltie, an Irishman, and a token Englishman just for good measure !

Click on the names to see the images !

A Serious Outbreak of Laptops Reported on North Sea Vessel!!

In the same week that a team of archeologists were reported to have found a lost Inca City near the South American Native stronghold of Machu Pichu, reports are today coming to light of a new discovery onboard RRS Ernest Shackleton in the Southern North Sea.  A herd of laptops of the family (Toshibus Laptopus) were seen grazing peacefully near the Bridge coffee point where no herd of laptops have been seen before.  This is of great interest to the BAS scientific community, and rare camera footage can now be published of the rarely-seen herd as captured by the website photographer.  These docile herds are more often associated with the solitary life and individual habits, so capturing such a gathering is a rare event.

Forthcoming events: Helicopters expected on Wednesday for crewchange with an additional one on Thursday.

Contributors this week : Many Thanks to Wavey-Davey's stand-in, Ms Karen Bennett-Howat of Dundee, mentioning no names, but who wishes to remain anonymous after the quality of the joke !

Diary 3 will be written on 16th June 2002 and should be published on 17th June 2002.

Steve B