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17 July - Crew change

Date: Sunday 17 July 2005
Position @ 1200 Local (GMT+1): 55°42' North, 004°44' East - On the West Tyra Field, Danish Sector
Next destination: Peterhead, Scotland
ETA: To Be Advised, but expected to be this next week
Distance to go: 240 nmiles
Distance sailed from Immingham and Crew change : Not Available due to various courses and manoeuvering.
Total distance sailed: Not known.

Current weather: Cloudy but clear. High cloud with blue patches
Wind: 300°, 14 kts
Sea state: Slight sea and low swell
Barometric pressure:1012.1 mmHg
Air temperature: 17.0°C
Sea temperature: 15.3°C

Satellite picture of Shackletons postion Click to see a Satellite Pass of the Shackleton in the Danish North Sea.

This Week on ES

 It was Crew Change Week.  Not only for the crew of the Ernest Shackleton in it’s entirety, but a number of the Clients and Contractors too. I cannot tell you exactly who we said ‘Goodbye’ to because I was not around to be introduced to them in the first instance, but we certainly saw the departure of all 20 of the Capt. John Marshall’s Team. Due to the quick turn-around time involved, our ‘handover’s this time comprised of a morning from 09.00am to 03.00pm for the bulk of the officers.  The Captain’s took the longest time and Capt. Marshall left the vessel in the early evening.  By 22.45 hours, RRS Ernest Shackleton was heading back out of the Immingham Dock Gates and bound back out to the North Sea arena of operations.

It was only 08.00am on the Thursday morning that the ship had arrived in Immingham.  By 09.00am the Capt.Graham Chapman Team arrived from Grimsby by bus. The team had gathered the evening before and had an overnight in a local hotel in preparation for an early start. And as I say, it was swift. I do not think I have seen such a 1-day handover before, since the Montevideo/Falkland Islands Crew changes usually involve at least 2 days to complete at a more leisurely pace.

For the off-going crew, I am sure they were happy to be saying farewell to the ship after 2 months of operating in the North Sea. The on-coming crew can now look forward equally to another 2 months North Sea operation before we head for our Annual Refit in FSL, Portsmouth, in the UK.  Our Sister-ship RRS James Clark Ross went into her Drydock period this very week and I believe my colleague Mike Gloistein will be producing an interim webpage to cover the work ongoing there this week.

After 3 weeks of refit, we will take a few days to embark the Antarctic equipment and cargo and then have a final month on passage to Montevideo where we will once again see our colleagues at the next Crew change.

But I am looking far too far ahead.  There will be a lot of ‘water to go under the bridge’(*) before we get to that time of year.  And so here is what has happened since the GPC Crew joined on Thursday and since embarked on the Summer STCW Charter Period.

(*) Bridge = Superstructure, on upper deck, having a clear view forward and on either side, and from which a ship is conned and navigated. Excerpt from Layton’s dictionary of Nautical Words and Terms.



…Yes, he’s back.  WAVEY DAVEY is back in true style and I’ve just returned from the Mess where Davey was in full-flow, and this week attacking that fine civil institution, the Police.

The Police have had a report of a mysterious hole opening up at the end of Wavey Davey’s street.  It’s mysterious, but the Police are looking into it !

The Police have also had a toilet stolen from the Police Station near to where Davey lives.  Investigations continue, but at present, they have nothing to go on !

And finally, a Policeman came home one afternoon to find his wife in bed together with Three unknown men !

‘Hello, Hello, Hello ?’ said the policeman.

‘Aren’t you talking to me then ?’ said the wife !!

Thank you Davey.  Don’t give up your day job !


Once clear of the Humber Estuary, the vessel steamed 059° to bring us to our current location in the Danish Sector of the North Sea.  We were initially heading for the Valdemar Field, but are presently doing a pipeline survey off the Tyra West Platform.  Using the SOLO ROV (Remote Operated Vehicle) we are hoping to finish the survey in order to return to Peterhead for a Mobilization for another phase of the North Sea work. 

We arrived on location about 18.00 hours on the Friday evening and immediately started with the usual round of pre-operation meetings and DP Field trials to ensure that all the Dynamic Positioning Systems were still working in the same perfect order as they were when last used earlier in the week.  No problems appeared and we were able to continue with the workscope from 1940 hours that evening.

One of the very first tasks was to retrieve 3 personnel from the Tyra Platform for accommodation on the vessel overnight.  I believe there was ‘no room at the inn’ on the Platform and we were offering to play hotel. The operation involved another ‘tool box talk’ to discuss the risks and hazards associated with the forthcoming operation and then to effect the transfer from the rig to the helideck on the ship.  The weather was balmy and bright and the conditions were ideal for the transfer which went off without a hitch, but who would want to be a passenger on the basket from the heights involved ?  Certainly not for those with vertigo !

Basket transfer Click on the Image to Effect the Basket Transfer.

Since that time, the work has just carried on a pace, night and day.  We are into the 12-hour shift system and it seems very much a case of eating, sleeping and working.  At no time is the Bridge unmanned as the DP Desk is attended around the clock.

Rig at night Click on the Image to see the Domain of the ‘Graveyard Shift’ – Nighttime on the Shackleton.

Forthcoming Events:  Continue with the workscope on the current Tyra West location and then move off to Peterhead for a swift mobilization for the next phase.

Contributors this week: To early for contributions. Everybody is too busy with the charter.

North Sea Diary No. 5 should be written on Sunday 24th for publication on Monday 25th, operations permitting.

More from us anon.

Stevie B
Radio Officer