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28 Aug - One of those weeks...

Date: Sunday 28 August 2005
Position @ 1200 Local (GMT+1): 55°43' North, 004°44' East -
Next destination: Unknown, but likely to be Immingham in mid-September.
ETA: To be advised
Distance to go: unknown at this time
Distance sailed from Immingham and Crew change : Not Available due to various courses and manoeuvering.
Total distance sailed: Not known.

Current weather: Overcast, fine and clear. Cloudy.
Wind: 190°, 28 kts
Sea state: Moderate sea with moderate swell
Barometric pressure: 1015.1 mmHg
Air temperature: 15.2°C
Sea temperature: 13.9°C


Chart position of the Shackleton Click to see Chart view of the Shackleton in today’s position.

While London and Paris bask in beautiful sunshine, poor Shackleton has to contend with lots of white ‘fluffy stuff’ aloft.


IT HAS BEEN ONE OF THOSE WEEKS....

...It certainly has been. Looking at the latest ‘Posrep’ (position report) which is a daily report produced by the Master of the Vessel, you can see how brief it is.  How uneventful is the typical day out here in the North Sea. How GOOD that is. Any deviation from this would signify a deviation from the work and the work is the reason why we are out here. At the moment we are looking at only another 22 days before the end of the Charter Period in the North Sea for the RRS Ernest Shackleton, and that doesn’t seem very far away.

Vessel 3 miles South-east of Valdemar structure on DP follow sub conducting survey of Valdemar/Tyra West pipeline.

Wind WSW 22kts, baro 1013.8mb, air 14.5C, sea 14.1, cloudy with showers, otherwise clear.

Continued survey progressing in a north westerly direction throughout.

(extract from Capt.Chapman’s Posrep).


WAVEY DAVEY’S WEEKLY WIT SPOT.

You may have heard on the news, that the Students of England have all been getting their exam results, but controversy reigns as to whether the subjects are getting easier or maybe the students are just taking easier subjects ???  Not so with Wavey Davey’s

This week, Wavey got his exam results and obtained four very good passes.  One was an Hay Level and three were Hoe Levels, from the local agricultural collage !

Meanwhile Davey tells me he sailed with a Master and a Chief Engineer who were always decrying and underrating each other’s jobs. To settle the dispute, they agreed to exchange duties for the day and see how they fared. Within a few hours the Captain was on the phone from the Engine Room to admit to the Chief Engineer that all was not well. He had ‘messed up’.

‘That’s okay’, admitted the Ch.Engineer.. ‘We’re aground’.

and on that nautical flavour …


Weather-wise, the week has been very changeable. One day sunshine and the next day, rain.  Of course we are all watching the weather with great interest because it can have a great impact on operations out here in the Tyra Field of the North Sea. Since we are effectively trying to hold a very steady position over a small submersible craft that is creeping along a sub-sea pipeline, we are very exposed to the elements. We have been so lucky that we have not had any downtime periods waiting on the weather, but with high winds and tides ever-threatening to increase, we have to monitor the situation from day to day, very carefully.  Largely it is the launching and recovery operations of the ROV that are the limiting factor when the seas become too rough.  But no such problems on the Shackleton this week.

A typical evening’s weather as viewed from the doors at the rear of the Shackleton Bridge.

Sunset from the Shackleton Click on the image to enlarge the Sunset.

And during the day we have had a good portion of sunshine.  It really brings out the colour of the (new?) Valdemar platform in the light of day.

Platform Click to enlarge the small platform.

I think this must be one of the smallest and ‘cleanest’ platforms I have seen in the North Sea.  While we were working off this particular structure, we were treated to the sight of a rig standby (guard) vessel depositing a work-crew on the platform by small boat.  The Fast Rescue Craft brought it’s occupants from the small ship to the leg of the platform and they simply boarded by the ladder. Climbing up the flights of stairs, the work-crew were on the normally un-manned platform for the duration of the day before being collected, and whisked back to neighbouring rigs by the standby vessel. As you might gather, the normal way on and off an offshore installation is by helicopter (unless you’re a seagull).  Occasionally, you get a basket transfer where the personnel are lowered to a waiting vessel by crane, but it is rare occasion when you see men simply climbing onto the ladder to board an offshore installation.


Where Are They Now ???

In With the Old, In With the New…

A previous Shackleton

The Shackleton’s current operation is over a new pipeline who’s route was originally surveyed a year ago by another Shackleton, renamed the MV Sea Profiler by its current owners Gardline Shipping Limited.

Built in 1954 and rebuilt in 1971 it was ‘retired’ from the South Atlantic and reconfigured in 1992 for its current role as a soils and high resolution seismic survey vessel.

More info on Profiler

A previous Shackleton

Seen here, berthed on the River Yare at Great Yarmouth, on the 24th August 1995.

Built in 1954 as "Arendal" by Solvesborgs Varv A/B at Solvesborg, she was renamed "Shackleton" in 1955. This name was held until 1983 when she was renamed "Geotek Beta", however she was renamed again in 1984 to "Profiler". The change to "Sea Profiler" came in 1992.

All photographs are copyright Patrick Hill (except where shown otherwise).

Thanks to Richard Northcote of Maersk, for suggesting this link and this information.  His suggestion of doing a ‘Where are they now’ to find the whereabouts of all the other ‘Shackleton’s’ in history might be seen as a ‘thrown gauntlet’ to our resident researcher Wavey Davey.  Davey has had many a photograph published in Jane’s Merchant Ships and currently rates ‘ship spotting’ as one of his greatest hobbies. He can often be seen at the end of the ship’s ‘platform’ taking ship numbers and clicking the odd photograph ! If anybody can find those Shackleton’s – Davey can.


FINALLY, The Ecology Bit

Rig Click on Image to Enlarge.

Here is another picture snapped by one of the DPO’s during a lazy (and cloudy) afternoon on watch.  I cannot tell you which installation you are looking at, but it was in the UK sector and with ecology being on the forefront of everybody’s minds these days, wonder about the Kyoto Agreement ?


Forthcoming Events: Complete yet another section of Pipeline Survey and commence another.  Rumours of further helicopter operations on the Shackleton this forthcoming week are still to be confirmed.

Contributors this week: Thanks to the Master for letting me steal his Posrep, and to the budding photographers on the Bridge. Thanks to Richard Northcote for the ‘Shackleton’ information and to Patrick Hill for his kind permission to use the associated photographs.

North Sea Diary No.11 should be written on Sunday 04th September for publication on Monday 05th September, operations permitting.


Stevie B
Radio Officer.