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11 Aug - Brief visit to Lerwick

Date:  Sunday 11 August  2002.
Position @ 1200 (UTC): 60° 19'N 004° 17'W

Wind:  NE x 10 kts
Barometric pressure:  1007.0 mb
Sea state: Rippled seas
Air temperature:  14.0°C.
Sea temperature: 13.7°C.
Weather: Cloudy and clear, low ground swell.

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.

Antarctic News:

The Admiralte Irizar has now made a passage through the pack ice and is making good progress back to Buenos Aries, Argentina.

If one were to compare the Ernest Shackletons position today with that of last Sunday one would think that we had not moved a great deal. The General Visual Inspection (GVI) has continued apace with the Solo ROV remaining in the water for much of the period.

However, with the dense fog that we had the previous week continuing through to Wednesday of this week, and a Charterers crew change being due on Thursday, the decision was made to head into Lerwick, Shetland Islands, on Thursday 8th August.

The ROV was stowed on Deck at midnight on Wednesday for the ten hour passage to the Shetlands and the pilot boarded the vessel at 1000 for the passage into Lerwick Harbour, with the vessel being secure alongside at 1100.

Those personnel joining had travelled overnight on the Aberdeen to Lerwick ferry and were awaiting our arrival, on a somewhat damp and miserable morning. The call to Lerwick was to be short, with the pilot being back onboard at 1330 for our departure and passage out to the Schiellion Field to carry on were we had left off. A large supply of newspapers was well received!

Lerwick, through the mist and rain
Click image to enlarge
Lerwick through the mist and rain - Click to enlarge

At 1500 a full fire and boat muster was conducted for all personnel onboard. As we were preparing for boat stations at about 1515 a Coastguard Sea King helicopter loomed out of the mist and mank and requested permission to do some practice drops onto our helideck. Permission was granted by the Master and for the next twenty five minutes the helicopter matched our speed and winched down three personnel onto the Helideck before recovering them again.

Coastguard helicopter preparing to move over the helideck and winch pax onboard
Click image to enlarge
Coastguard helicopter - Click to enlarge

The passage back to the Schiehallion field was a little lumpy with the vessel pitching. However, once back on site and working the Solo ROV again the weather improved and Friday and Saturday saw some lovely 'glassy' seas and calm days.

The Ernest Shackleton and the Falcon Explorer - Click to enlarge

The Ernest Shackleton (foreground) with the Falcon Explorer in the background. This picture was taken from the Ramform Viking which was steaming down our starboard side undertaking a seismic survey. Click image to enlarge.

The Schiehallion Field

The Schiehallion Field is 150km to the west of Shetland and was discovered in 1993 and has an estimated reserve of some 350 million barrels of oil, using a Floating Production, Storage and Offloading (FPSO) vessel. To the north of the Schiehallion field is the Loyal Field, with a further estimated 50 million barrels of oil.

The oil from these fields is transported to the Schiehallion FPSO via manifolds, flexible and rigid pipes and then flexile risers.

Drilling started in 1996 and the FPSO was towed onto the site in 1998. The oil is then transferred from the FPSO to shore by shuttle tankers.

It is hoped that the work in the Schiehallion Field will be completed in the next day or so, when the Ernest Shackleton will proceed to its next worksite.

11th August 2002