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07 Jul - Alongside

Date:  Sunday 07 July  2002.
Position @ 1200 (UTC): 53°37.6 North, 000°11.3 East. On the Leman to Bacton Pipeline.
Next destination: Port of Aberdeen.
ETA: TBA

Current weather:  Overcast, fine and clear
Wind:  S'westerly, Force 3
Barometric pressure:  1013.0 mb and steady
Sea state: Moderate
Air temperature:  15.2°C.
Sea temperature: 14.5°C.

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

Map of North Sea - Click to enlargeClick on map to magnify detail.




The Shackleton gets a ticket

The North Sea Situation - Stuck alongside this week.

This week, was another frustrating one for the Ernest Shackleton. After entering the Port of Immingham last Thursday 27th for a 12-hour crew-change, we found ourselves still alongside by Wednesday (3rd) of this week. 'Essential Maintenance' kept us alongside when we should have been doing the 'good stuff' on the pipelines of the North Sea. The ROV crane went on an 'extended holiday' for repairs and only returned at the start of the week. With the usual round of re-connections, load-testing and 'operational slewing' to be done, it was Wednesday before we were able to slip our moorings and head out through the Immingham Lock under pilotage once more. It was good for the Stolt contractors who had the opportunity to travel home for the weekend and who were not recalled until Tuesday.


Once the crane and the crew were back onboard, we headed out to the West Sole Gas Fields to continue where we had left off one week before. But all was not well, when upon arrival we attempted to go into DP Mode and discovered a further failure onboard.


Wavey-Davey's Weekly Whit-spot.

Davey Says :- Statistically, a man gets run-over by a car in Britain, on average, every 7 seconds... '

... AND HE'S GETTING PRETTY FED-UP WITH IT !!!.


The HiPap Takes a Break

The HiPap, or High Performance Acoustic Positioning Reference System, is basically a big lollipop that sticks out of the bottom of the vessel's hull and sends out acoustic waves to a 'transponder'. The time it takes for the 'ping' to travel down to the transponder and back to the 'lollipop' determines the distance/2 that the ship is away from the transponder. If the transponder is secured to the seabed, this can provide an extremely accurate reference as to where the ship is in relation to a fixed point (Dynamic Positioning), or when the transponder is mounted on the ROV (remote operated vehicle), the ship can stay a predetermined length away from the ROV in 'follow sub mode' just like taking a dog for a walk on a leash ! Unfortunately, when we arrived back on location at the West Sole this week, we found that our 'leash had broken' ! The dog was not getting his walk, and we were not able to continue our workscope !

Above: Walking the Dog and Walking the Rov. Click image to enlarge.


All day Thursday and for the most of Friday, the onboard technician and one flown in by helicopter from Norway worked on repairing the problem. Meanwhile, the vessel moved over to the Waveney Field (above the Leman Field) where inspection of the Risers of the Platform did not require the HiPap facility. The smaller of the two ROV's on board - the Tiger ROV - was launched to complete an 'eyeball' survey and thus keep us working.

Happily by Friday evening, the HiPap was once again operative and the Pipeline surveys could be recommenced with the larger SOLO 2 ROV and so we repositioned to the Indefatigable Field.

Since Friday evening work has continued apace. The weather has been kind and we have had no further bar to the progression through the work list for the vessel.


Forthcoming events: Complete the workscope survey on the Leman/Bacton pipeline, and move to work again on the West Sole Gasfield. Next Stolt crew-change will be on Thursday 11th by helicopter.

Contributors this week : Many Thanks to Wavey-Davey and to the Tax-Exile.

Diary 7 will be written on 14th July 2002 and for publication on 15th July 2002

Steve B
ETO(Comms)