Monthly Archives: February 2015

DP failure.
This in from gCaptain today. Interesting stuff. Thanks gentlemen.

Dynamic positioning controls

The U.S. Bureau of Safety and Environmental Enforcement (BSEE) and the U.S. Coast Guard have today issued a Joint Safety Alert in response to a dynamic positioning incident involving an Offshore Supply Support Vessel while conducting critical activities on the Outer Continental Shelf, resulting in the loss of position.

Without going into detail on where and when the incident occurred, the joint alert said that the OSV lost position while attached to a wellhead, severing the wellhead tree and causing a lubricant release on the platform deck and to the environment.

Safety Alerts are issued by BSEE to inform the offshore oil and gas industry of the circumstances surrounding an incident or a near miss, and also contain recommendations that should help prevent the recurrence of such an incident on the OCS.

The full text of the safety alert, Coast Guard Alert 01-15 or BSEE Alert #315, can be read in full below:


Discussion: This Joint Safety Alert addresses a dynamic positioning (DP) incident involving an Offshore Supply Vessel (OSV) which resulted in a loss of position while conducting a critical Outer Continental Shelf (OCS) activity. The OSV was attached to a wellhead, lost position and severed the wellhead tree causing a lubricant release on the platform deck and to the environment. Immediately prior to the position loss, the OSV had multiple DP system alarms and failures, including loss of bow thruster and engine control. No attempt was made to identify or correct the causes of these failures and the operations continued.

At the time of the position loss, the OSV was being utilized to support pump and electric line equipment which was connected to the well at the time of the incident. Specifically, when the vessel lost position, the vessel operator was in the process of removing a downhole DX plug from the well via wireline. High pressure pump lines were also connected to the well, although actual pumping operations were not in progress. When the vessel lost position, the Christmas tree was sheared from the well because of the force exerted on it by virtue of the connected high pressure lines. Severe consequences were averted because a subsurface safety valve was activated and there was an absence of hydrocarbon flow from the well.

The OCS activity performed was critical due to the short time to terminate and the potential uncontrollable release of hydrocarbons from a well with known sustained casing pressure. The Coast Guard and the BSEE are issuing this joint Safety Alert because we share jurisdiction on the OCS and wish to highlight the importance of an OSV’s Safety Management System (SMS) and a leaseholder’s Safety and Environmental Management System (see Reference 1).

This incident highlights the following critical issues:

Alarms: The Coast Guard and BSEE stress the importance of properly acknowledging and investigating all alarms, and taking immediate and positive corrective action prior to initiating or proceeding with any critical OCS activity.

SMS: The OSV was not required to and did not have an International Safety Management (ISM) Code certificate. The Coast Guard reminds OSV owners and operators that an effective SMS is essential to safe operations, particularly when those operations are critical OCS activities. Had the OSV implemented an effective SMS, as described in the ISM code, it likely would have:

  1. Had adequate emergency disconnect capability and procedures for loss of position events and personnel trained in those procedures. In this case the OSV did not have adequate emergency disconnect capability, procedures or training records;
  2. Ceased the critical OCS activity after experiencing multiple DP system failures – including engine and thruster loss – and not have resumed the activity until after correcting the causes of the DP system failures (see Reference 2).

Dynamic Positioning: The Coast Guard strongly recommends owners and operators of OSVs using DP to follow DP guidance provided in reference 3 (Marine Technology Society (MTS) DP operations guidance) when conducting critical activities on the U.S. OCS. See the applicable notice on this topic published in the Federal Register (77 FR 62247, October 12, 2012) for more details. Had this OSV followed the MTS DP operations guidance it likely would have:

  1. Had a DP system that met a minimum of DP Equipment Class 2 (DP-2). The involved OSV’s DP system was DP Equipment Class 1 (DP-1), which means that a loss of position may occur in the event of a single failure. (see Reference 3, paragraph 4.1);
  2. Had an Activity Specific Operating Guideline (ASOG) that prescribed emergency disconnect procedures and capability to prevent equipment damage and pollution. The involved OSV did not have an ASOG defined. The sample ASOG in MTS DP guidance recommend the operator should “halt operations and initiate contingency procedures” for thruster and generator failures, which this OSV experienced prior to the loss of position incident. (see Reference 3, Appendix C);
  3. Had a Critical Activity Mode of Operation (CAMO) defined. The involved OSV did not have a CAMO defined. The sample CAMO in MTS DP guidance recommend the operator change operating condition from “normal operations” to “informative/consultative status (risk assess)” when any change occurs to the normal operations of the DP system, which this OSV experienced prior to the loss of position incident. (see Reference 3, Appendix C);
  4. Ensured a structured competence assurance program was applied to all key DP personnel. At a minimum DP personnel should be required to demonstrate proficiency in understanding the redundancy concept and emergency procedures to respond in the event of a DP system failure. (see Reference 3, paragraph 4.14).

Leaseholder/operator SEMS: BSEE strongly recommends leaseholders/operators consider Coast Guard recommendations for DP vessels when evaluating potential hazards and establishing/implementing contractor safe work practices in their SEMS program (see 30 CFR §§ 250.1911 and 250.1914). BSEE reminds leaseholders/operators of their critical role in ensuring safety and environmental hazards associated with contracted vessels on their lease are properly managed. For example, leaseholders/operators should ensure hazards associated with a loss of position by contracted DP vessels are analyzed and managed with appropriate contractor safe work practices.

For additional information, contact Lieutenant Commander Elizabeth Massimi at (504) 671-2156 with the Coast Guard District 8 Prevention Division or Troy Trosclair at 504-736-2923 with the BSEE Gulf of Mexico Region.

Reference 1: BSEE/USCG Memorandum of Agreement OCS-07 “Safety and Environmental Management Systems (SEMS) and Safety Management Systems (SMS)” (April 30, 2013).

Reference 2: ISM Code Regulations 7 and 10 (2014 ed.).

Reference 3: DP Operations Guidance, Part 2 Appendix 2: DP Project /Construction Vessels (Dynamic Positioning Committee of the Marine Technology Society to aid in the safe and effective management of DP Operations (July 31, 2012).

Reference 4: Marine Technology Society Technical and Operations Guidance (TECHOP) “Defining Critical Activities Requiring Selection of Critical Activity Mode”, TECHOP_ODP_12_(O) (January 2014).

Own a bulker? Bad luck.

Own a bulker? Bad luck.

Baltic Dry at Lowest Level Since August 1986 Commodity shipping costs matched a record low set 28 years ago as China’s slowing demand for coal and weaker bookings before the Asian country’s New Year holidays compounded a fleet glut.

The Baltic Dry Index slid 0.9 percent to 554 points, the same level it fell to in July and August of 1986, according to data on Monday from the Baltic Exchange in London. Day rates declined for most ship types monitored.China’s seaborne coal imports slid 10 percent in 2014, reversing growth of 16 percent the year before, according to Clarkson Plc, the world’s largest shipbroker. The Chinese economy, which buys almost half the world’s coal and ore cargoes, will grow in 2015 at the slowest pace in 25 years, economists’ forecasts compiled by Bloomberg show. “Demand is growing at a sluggish rate,” Erik Folkeson, an Oslo-based analyst at Swedbank AB, said by phone, adding that demand is being further eroded before New Year holidays in China that start later this month. “Coal first of all, and the data that we’ve seen on Chinese iron ore imports has suggested a slowdown in January.

”Ship owners ordered three-times more dry bulk ships in 2013 than a year earlier in expectation of growing coal demand in China, according to Jeffrey Landsberg, managing director of Commodore Research, a New York-based adviser to ship owners. Those vessels are now being delivered to the market and competing for cargoes, driving rates down.“Chinese coal imports have fallen dramatically,” he said by phone Monday. “They’re not nearly as high as ship owners expected when those vessels were ordered.”Source: Bloomberg

From the marine library


Some  pictures, from random at the marine library.poster1

A poster reminding folks as to where a debt of gratitude is owed.

Detector with anchor

Maersk Detector, anchor handling offshore Israel.  Rig is Atwood Eagle.

black rover

Black Rover, somewhere nice.


British Cormorant, isn’t she tiddly. Author’s first ship as a 3rd Mate, 1976.


British Comet……a long long time ago.

Cormorant and Swift in Barry 1

Laid up in Barry Docks

Me at Plutonio

Sailing away a FPSO, Ulsan, Korea.

Be careful what goes into your mouth

La Popularite De La Nourriture Organique

By our roving reporter Dicky Biggs

I was with this lovely lady the other day. I’d met her her in the public bar of the Dog and Hammer, (Bishopsgate so quite upmarket) and she said she had a thing about older mariners, especially ones that had put a bit of weight on, lost a few teeth and accrued plenty of disposable  wonga. Well I didn’t qualify on the last point but thought I’d play along and see what happened. A few port and lemons were followed by some large gins, then a slap up burger and fries at the McDonalds on Cannon Street  and it became apparent that a quick stop at the Old Street Travelodge  might result in a bit of late afternoon delight. Anyway, just as I was about to invite her to take a very close look at my old chap, she burst into the following.

Fair puts a chap off his stroke.

Bon soir.Ce soir je voudrais parler au sujet de la nourriture organique.Il est un sujet tres important a moi parce que je travaille chez Madam Frillies a St Peters ou nous vendons un grand choix de la nourriture bio.

Bien,la nourriture organique,qu’est-ce que c’est?

Une des raisons populaire que beaucoup de nous ne voulons pas manger la nourriture qui n’est pas organique est que nous devrions manger pour la sante.Les fermiers se servent des insecticides depuis tres longtemps et la nourriture est polluee.

 Les Francais comme les Anglais sont de plus en plus nombreux a acheter et manger la nourriture organique.Pendant l’annee derniere la vente de cette nourriture s’est levee par dix pourcent et il semble que le pourcentage sera plus haut l’annee prochaine.

 Quelles sont les avantages de la nourriture organique aussi bien qu’elle est bonne pour la sante?J’aimerais beaucoup vous faire gouter du fruit,des nuts noix du Bresil et aussi des amandes et les grapes secs.

 Pensez-vous qu’il y a une difference avec les autres produits sur le marche?

 J’ai aussi enquete le sujet de la nourriture organique et voici les resultats si vous voulez les voir. 



New lifeboat for Margate

This hot off the press from our Dutch mariner friends at Maritime News Clippings.

Margate RNLI lifeboat station will receive a new Shannon class all-weather lifeboat in three years’ time, the Royal National Lifeboat Institution has announced. Volunteer crew members at the lifeboat station at The Rendezvous were thrilled to get official confirmation that a Shannon class lifeboat, the latest in the RNLI’s all-weather lifeboat fleet, will replace the smaller Mersey class which has been on station since 1987. The Shannon class is the RNLI’s first all-weather lifeboat to be powered by water-jet engines rather than the traditional propellers, giving it increased agility and manoeuvrability. With a top speed of 25 knots it is 50% faster than the Mersey class lifeboat it will replace.

The allocation of the new lifeboat was confirmed in a letter from George Rawlinson, RNLI Operations Director, to Paul Hodson, Lifeboat Operations Manager at Margate. Paul said: ‘This is exciting news for us all. With its increased speed over our current lifeboat, the Shannon class will provide the opportunity to offer a greatly enhanced service.’
Due to the size and dimensions of the new Shannon lifeboat, a new boathouse will be required to house it. After careful consideration, the charity is seeking planning permission to build an entirely new boathouse on the eastern part of the Marine Sands. The boathouse would reduce the time it takes to launch the lifeboat from her current station as well as create space for the new Shannon, Margate’s existing D-class lifeboat, and associated beach lifeguard equipment. Paul Hodson said: ‘The RNLI decided the announcement of the new Shannon presents an opportunity to make a number of improvements for Margate. The building will bring together all our lifesaving assets under one roof, as well as create space for crew training. It also includes a public viewing area, which will attract more people to the seafront. In that way we hope it will contribute to the regeneration of the seafront in the town.’
The RNLI began the planning application process Friday 30th January by submitting the required pre-application to Thanet District Council.The RNLI has allocated the lifeboat to arrive on station in early 2018 although this can be subject to change, subject to a review of various aspects of progress. To find out more about the Shannon class

Why I want to be a Captain

In the first edition of the Swedish magazine Utkiken we found the following article written by a 10 year old British schoolboy.

“I want to be a captain ·when I grow up because it’s a cool job t hat’s easy to do. Captains don’t have to go to school such a long time. They only need to learn figures so they can read instruments. I think they also have to be able to read maps so they don’t get lost when they sail.

Captains have to be brave so they don ‘t get scared when it’s so foggy that they can’t see and when the propeller falls off they have to know what to do about it. Captains have to have eyes that can see through the clouds and they mustn’t be afraid of thunder and lightning which they  have closer to them  than  what we have.

The captain’s wages is another thing I like. They earn more than they can spend. That’s because most people think it’s dangerous to drive a boat, except captains  because they know how easy it is. There’s not much I don’t like, except that girls like captains. All the girls want to marry a captain, so captains are always having to chase them away to get some peace.

I hope I don’t get seasick, because if I get seasick I can’t be a captain and I’ll have to start working.

Robert the Devil

By Cedric Porter

New light on perhaps the most famous of all the Erith characters in days gone by, Robert the Devil, came in a yarn spun me this week by Mr Donald Sidhall, of Milton Road, Belvedere.

Here is what Mr Sidhall told me about the man he once used to work with:-

Robert was an extremely strong man and no respecter of persons, whoever they were. At a time of life when most people were extremely respectful of those in position. They had to kow-tow to get a job-otherwise they starved.

He had his own sailing barge which was wrecked and, not being insured, this started him doing things he would never have dreamed of doing before.

He was always completely independent of everybody and the sort of man who wouldn’t recognise there was anyone superior to him in his own particular line.

No mug of course, he was skipper of a barge at 16-although this was not unusual in those days-and after he got his own boat, his character was that of a very careful, earnest sort of chap whose one interest in life was to save up and buy another barge.

After his boat sank, one of his best known haunts in Erith was the public house which used to stand opposite the causeway. The Yacht. For the benefit of lightermen and dockers, this was open more or less 24 hours a day.

In the summertime it was quite usual for him to be in there and perhaps the tide would come up and he would straight out the pub and into the water.

When he started to swim out to the middle of the river, often the police would go after him in their boat rowed by four constables with a sergeant and coax him to come back with them. They would leave him to go and sit in the pub with all his clothes dripping wet until he tried again.

There were times when Robert got a bit obstreperous and the police had to be called.

This was always a pantomime-the police had an ambulance which was simply a stretcher on two wheels and it always took at least six of them to strap him down on this and wheel him off to the police station.

For some people this was their only entertainment of the week-children used to find which public house he was in and wait for the policemen to begin.

A very great friend of his, Kate Carter, was a money lender who lived in Maximfeldt Road. She was a very large Irish woman and a devout Roman Catholic, although she went to Mass once a year, at Christmas.

Then, after first visiting the pub next door to the church, she would go into the service and sing everybody out of the place before going back next door.

The occasion would inevitably end up with Kate starting to fight half the men in the pub and it always took at least six policemen to get her strapped on the cart.

She would be brought up at Dartford Court on Monday morning, fined 2/6 and always thanked the magistrates very kindly and wished them well before she left.

I myself remember seeing an illustration of Bob’s tremendous strength one when a preacher set up his outdoor wooden pulpit opposite one of the local pubs. The preacher was just saying “The money that is being paid across the counter in there should be providing food and clothes for the children”-all quite true of course.

Robert came out of the pub, crossed the road, picked up the preacher, pulpit and all, and carried them back inside the pub.

Although only 5ft 10 inches tall, he was very powerfully built and, despite the way he carried on, he retained that physique until his fifties. The last time I saw him though, in West Street in the thirties, he was almost a helpless cripple with arthritis and there was no doubt what had brought this on

If there was anything he thought other men couldn’t do, he would try to do it-like lift a barrel of beer.

On barges he took pride in doing the work of two men-lifting by himself the baulks of timber weighing a couple of hundredweight that were used to cover up the cargo. But he was always careful never to do another man out of a job-he would tell his mate to brew up tea in the cabin while he did the work.

Another time he took the horse out of the milkcart, got in the shafts and pulled the cart three streets away. The milkman came out of the house where he had been and got the shock of his life but neither he nor anyone else would ever have dreamed of taking Bob to court for the things he did.

One characteristic was his forthrightness-I have never known him hum and ha about anything. I was just a boy when I worked with him and the foreman would send me with requests for Bob to do something-if he refused, it would do no good standing around waiting for him to change his mind.

There were only two lightermen who would have anything to do with the barges of rotten fish or rabbits for the glue and fertiliser factory that used to be at Belvedere. Bob, of course, was one of them and these two would do the job only when they were drunk because the stench was so awful.

Even they didn’t have the worst job-that was given to the men who had to dig everything out of the hold with shovels-the smell used to get right into the skin and they were not allowed on any trams in the area. For this, the workers were paid 5d and hour.

Bob was always very kind to me and I thought he was very likeable fellow, but at times when he was drunk he used to pick a quarrel for the sake of picking a quarrel. People would gee him up to start something so they could have a good laugh.

Although not educated, he was very intelligent. When something displeased him, he would ramp off but what he said was always very logical and well thought out. He was very very seldom bested in a discussion on everyday topics, which showed he must have read quite a bit.

His language of course, was very uncouth but he talked so well that people would sometimes be so intent on what he was saying, they would forget to order another drink. Quite a lot must have listened to his views and then gone off somewhere else and put them forward as their own.

Can he take a barge out with a north-easter blowing its guts out? Of course he can’t” he would say. “He’s an accountant working with figures, I’m bring foodstuffs for the community-who’s doing the most important work?”

One gentlemen who owned one of the first cars in Erith and had it done out like a cottage on wheels, with curtains in the windows, made a fatal mistake once with regard to Robert.

The gentleman-who was a very nice man, by the way-used to pull up in his car outside a shop and the proprietor would come rushing out to serve him even it was only a quarter of tea he wanted and the shop was full of people.

So that he didn’t have to get out of the car, he would call someone in the street over to come and turn the crank handle of the car, then give the man something to buy himself a drink.

On this occasion, he saw Bob coming out of the pub, and not knowing anything about him, called him across. Bob wasn’t quite sure what it was all about, so he said: “What do you say guv’nor?”

My man, just turn the handle at the front to start.”

Well, Bob went round to the front all right, but then he lifted up the car with the man still inside and put it down so the rear wheels were in the gutter and the front wheels on the kerb outside the pub. The Bob poked his head in the side window where the gentleman was sitting, very frightened, and said” Don’t be so——- lazy, you stupid man”

I’m pretty certain that was the only time in his life that the gentleman was spoken to like that.”

maersk supply service

The offshore sector took another hit today as Maersk Supply Service and Maersk Drilling both announced major layoffs at their corporate headquarter in Denmark.  Maersk Supply says they will be laying off 20 of their employees and Maersk Drilling will be reducing head count by 90.

“We are facing challenging market conditions in the coming years. Oil prices have dropped dramatically and exceedingly fast in recent months and our customers, suppliers and competitors are all being forced to adjust to a new reality,” says Carsten Plougmann Andersen, CEO in Maersk Supply Service.  “To safeguard Maersk Supply Service’s future profitability and ability to compete in a challenged market, we have launched an end-to-end review of all earning potentials and cost drivers in Maersk Supply Service, including optimizing organizational effectiveness which regrettably has necessitated these staff reductions.”

Maersk Supply Service is just one of the many offshore supply boat companies that is feeling the effects of low oil prices.  In the Gulf of Mexico, Hornbeck Offshore has already stacked at least five of their new next-generation offshore supply vessels and gCaptain readers have recently told gCaptain that layoffs are currently underway.  Matching 401k contributions at the company have also been curtailed as of 1 January.

gc rieber logo

ReutersFeb 4 (Reuters) – Norway’s GC Rieber Shipping ASA said on Wednesday that two companies owned by private equity fund HitecVision V, LP, had defaulted on debt obligations.

A senior official of HitecVision could not immediately be reached to comment.

GC Rieber said in a statement that the two funds, HV V Invest Golf AS and HV V Invest Golf II AS, had not fulfilled obligations related to seller’s credit and this was due and payable.

It said the obligations related to the sale of GC Rieber Shipping’s shares in Reef Subsea AS, for which seller’s credit was provided of 180 million Norwegian crowns ($23.85 million), to which interest of 10 million crowns had accrued.

GC Rieber Shipping said it had sent a notice of default to the two HV V Golf companies.

($1 = 7.5456 Norwegian krones) (Reporting by Anthony Barker; Editing by Mark Potter)

(c) 2015 Thomson Reuters, All Rights Reserved

This from the BBC today, INMARSAT ‘s next generation of kit is being launched.

Inmarsat launches second Global Xpress satellite

ProtonThe Proton vehicle is having to re-establish itself following recent failures.

The UK satellite telecommunications company Inmarsat has launched the second of its I5 series of spacecraft.

The 7m-long, 6.1-tonne platform went into orbit on a Proton M rocket, despatched from Baikonur in Kazakhstan.

The I5s – there will be four in total – make up Inmarsat’s next-generation constellation called Global Xpress.

And with an investment of £1bn ($1.5bn), they represent the single biggest commercial space project in Britain right now.

The I5-F2 was released into its super-synchronous transfer orbit at 04:02 GMT on Monday, following a mammoth 15-and-a-half-hour journey aboard the Proton and its Breeze upper-stage.

Currently, this orbit takes the satellite out to a distance of 65,000km from the Earth.

Over the coming days, the platform must use its own propulsion system to circularise this path and bring itself into a “stationary” position some 36,000km above the equator.

Engineers will then drift the I5-F2 to its operational station at 55 degrees West to serve customers in the Americas and Atlantic region. “We couldn’t be happier right now,” said Ruy Pinto, the chief operations officer at Inmarsat.

“We have acquired the satellite successfully, we have checked all the sub-systems, and we have just completed the first big re-orientation manoeuvre.

I5The IFs are amongst the biggest commercial telecoms satellites in operation today

“Our first orbit-raising burn will be conducted on Wednesday. We’ll have seven in total and then we’ll fully deploy all the solar panels,” he told BBC News.

Inmarsat is a dominant force in the so-called Mobile Satellite Services (MSS) market.

Its principal customer base is the shipping sector, but the company also caters for any groups that need connectivity away from a fixed line. These include oil and gas installations, armed forces, aid agencies and NGOs in disaster areas, and TV news crews reporting from trouble zones.

Customers can use Inmarsat services to make phone calls, to transfer audio-visual material or simple data. The company’s fastest growing sector currently is aviation, and the GX constellation is looking to boost that trend still further.

Inmarsat made worldwide news last year when its equipment aboard the lost Malaysia Airlines MH370 jet was able to direct investigators to a search zone in the Indian Ocean.

The London-based operator has subsequently proposed a free basic tracking service for all long-haul flights.

Rocket competition

Global Xpress sees the company take its first, firm step into Ka frequencies to deliver communications.

Traditionally, its spacecraft have worked in the L-band, but this is becoming saturated.

Inmarsat says there is more opportunity to grow its business in Ka.

The higher frequency allows faster throughput connections, giving the I5s broadband speeds that are 100 times faster than the company’s fourth generation (I4) satellites.

Inmarsat’s continued use of the Russian-built Proton is a show of faith in a rocket that has experienced a number of failures in recent years.

The rocket, which is marketed by US-based International Launch Services (ILS), was used to loft the I5-F1 in December 2013 and will be used again to send up the I5-F3, most probably in the second quarter on this year.

Mr Pinto said it was important for satellite operators that they had a choice of launch vehicles available to them, to open up schedules and keep prices low.

“ILS is gradually coming back to the launch market with an improving track record. We also have a SpaceX, which is up-and-coming and demonstrating its current and future hardware. And we have an Arianespace that is investing in an Ariane 6-class rocket to keep its place in the market. All those are developments that give us cause for cautious optimism.”

The I5-F4 is regarded in the first instance as a back-up in case of a launch or in-orbit failure of any of the first three GX satellites, but it will eventually be launched. This should happen in 2016 and it will be sent to augment the region of the globe with the highest growth potential.