Saturday, 9 May 2015

Heading Offshore

This last week I have the privilege of spending 24 hours on 'Noble Clyde Boudreaux' in the Timor Sea, drilling the production wells for Shell's Prelude Floating LNG project.

Noble Clyde Boudreaux: Noble Corp
The trip was organised by Shell for the major contractors supporting the project, primarily to show how safety is actively managed aboard the rig between the 148 crew and their specialist roles.

To be able to fly out to the rig from Broome, I had to complete a two day basic safety and survival course which included HUET - Helicopter Underwater Escape Training. To be able to fly offshore, trainees need to successfully complete eight evacuations from a submerged, inverted helicopter. No-one particularly enjoys this component of the training, which thankfully is valid for four years.

The helicopter ride out to the rig was uneventful until we descended over the patch and a whole tableaux unfolded. Within visual distance of the helicopter were the rigs Jack Bates (INPEX), ENSCO 5006, Noble Clyde Boudreaux and construction vessel Aegir along with their support fleet of supply vessels  - no photographs permitted unfortunately, all cameras had to stowed in our luggage.

Once aboard the Noble Clyde Boudreaux, the size and complexity of the rig was astounding. Crew and contractors undertaking the physical drilling, mud analysis, locating where the drill bit was located in relation to the gas reservoir, ballasting the rig, loading and unloading stores...

As dawn broke on Tuesday, our PSV 'Far Skimmer' was close alongside under the port crane discharging drill string and back-loading empty equipment containers. As a Farstad employee, I was proud to be able to point out the vessel's features and describe how she maintained station in Dynamic Positioning mode only 20 metres of the rig's submerged pontoon hulls.

Far Skimmer close alongside NCB: BigFella
My thanks to Safety Coach BigFella - a fellow Kiwi - for hosting us aboard NCB and for the photos of Far Skimmer.

Back from the rig in Broome, I had two days visiting 'Far Skimmer's sister 'Far Sitella', also supporting Noble Clyde Boudreaux and our Anchor Handler 'Far Strait' supporting the INPEX rigs in the same patch. A good week, back to reality on Friday.

The Antipodean Mariner

Sunday, 26 April 2015

Reactivating the Blog

After a long absence from the Blog, I found that it's been 'hijacked' by re-posted feeds from some Oil and Gas site - damned if I know how that happened, deleted them all!

After some deliberation, I'm 'outing' the Antipodean Mariner. I'm Stuart Scott, a Kiwi and Australian, living in Melbourne, Australia. 2015 brought a new role in a new industry, and I joined Farstad Shipping in January as Chief Operating Officer for the APAC region.

Farstad Shipping have just delivered their first Subsea Offshore Construction Vessel 'Far Sleipner'. Here's a link to a beautiful fly-over clip shot with a drone in Aalesund, Norway.

Sill plenty of stuff left to post over the coming months of my past and present 'loves'.

Stuart, the Antipodean Mariner

Wednesday, 9 October 2013


On August 19th 2013, the Capesize bulk carrier 'Smart' ran aground departing Richards Bay, South Africa, with a full cargo of coal. It's been reported that there was a heavy swell running at the time, and that 'Smart's stern hit the seabed in the swell trough. After grounding, she drifted out of the channel, stranded and broke in two. If you open up the first photo to full screen, the lower part of the rudder has sheared off - whether from the grounding for afterwards.

If the grounding is attributed to touching bottom in the heavy swell, it bears a remarkable resemblance to the grounding and successful salvage of the 'Jody F Millennium' in Gisborne, New Zealand.

'Smart's stern was 'cleansed' of bunkers, lubricants (and hopefully the crew's personal possessions) and was successfully towed into deep water were she was scuttled. Maritime blog gCaptain carries the story and photo sequence from the salvors, Subtech Group, for which the AM attribute the sequence below.

M/v 'Smart' was an elderly Capesize, built 1996 at Mitsui Shipbuilding in Japan. Salvors continue to work on the forward section (Holds 1-6).

The Antipodean Mariner

Friday, 27 September 2013

Dynamic Under Keel Clearance

When ships are underway, a safety margin - the under keel clearance - is applied as a buffer. A static under keel clearance, or UKC, is typically 10% of the ships draft. In addition to the allowing for the imperfections in the sea bed and squat, it also makes the ship maneuverable. If the UKC is too small, Bernoulli's Principle creates localised low pressure zones under ship causing her to shear, or veer off course, and to be generally uncontrollable.

Commercially, deeper draft equals more cargo which equals more freight - depending on where you stand in the supply chain. Using predictive algorithms, shipping is dipping into the 10% static under keel clearance rule of thumb. This technology is called 'Dynamic Under Keel Clearance', and was pioneered by an Australian company, OMC International. Data from wave-rider buoys is combined with historic tide date, prevailing weather and barometric pressure. The algorithm calculates what the tide should be and then compares the predicted tide height with the actual water depth from the tidal meters. DUKC is being used in four of our ports to maximise cargo loading, and gives the Master an individualised target draft to load to.

What's this got to do with the photo below? Earlier this week, four bulk carriers were waiting for the DUKC-predicted tide to transit the Prince of Wales Channel in North Queensland.

The four deep draft vessels here had a 30 minute window to transit Varzin Passage from west to east. The line up (left to right) are our 'RTM Dias' (Captain Gupta), 'Noble Halo', 'Solin' and our 'RTM Twarra' (Captain Loveland). My thanks to Captain Wal Cray, Pilot of the westbound 'Jubilant Success' and 'Australian Reef Pilots' for this photo.

The Antipodean Mariner

Wednesday, 7 August 2013

Grand Assembly 'RTM Djulpan'

I'll start off with an apology for the long layoff from the Antipodean Mariner blog. In January of this year, I was moved from a technical specialist to running our Company's Panamax dry bulk trading desk. The change to a trading desk has been an interesting career development, but is a lot less "blogable". Instead of studying ballast systems, I'm immersed in Baltic Panamax Index Average Four Time Charter Routes Freight Futures Agreements (or BPI A4TC FFA's in trader-speak). And I don't go anywhere.

Even though I haven't been spending any time in shipyards, my colleagues have - below is the Grand Assembly of our second caustic soda/bulk carrier 'RTM Djulpan' being built at Oshima Shipyard. The time sequence is over eight days. If Henry Ford ever built ships, this is how he would have done it!.

Many thanks to Cliff and Keel Marine for the photo sequence. Please enjoy

The Antipodean Mariner

Tuesday, 12 February 2013

Changing course

To paraphrase Rule 8 of the Collision Regulations, alterations of course should be positive and made in ample time with due regard to the observance of good seamanship.

In January, the Antipodean Mariner made a bold course change and has left the world of shipbuilding for command of the company's Panamax freight trading portfolio. Main engines, keel laying and sea trials have been replaced by speed and consumption, Baltic Panamax Indices and demurrage.

The role completes the skills jigsaw that that, until now, has been in supporting roles as a technical or operational specialist. With the role comes P&L responsibility for about 30 million tonnes of freight in Asia and the Atlantic Basin.
As this dry world doesn't intersect with main engines and hull blocks, I'll have to live vicariously through colleagues in the field doing sea trials and ship deliveries. The final two Capesize at HHIC Subic Bay will be delivered in April/May after new main engines were fitted and the first of the new Post-Panamax, RTM Dias, has enteredt service. RTM Flinders will shortly head out on sea trials and deliver into service in March.

RTM Dias and RTM Flinders banked for their Naming Ceremony

RTM Dias approaching berth on her maiden voyage

RTM Flinders ready for sea trials

AM, February 2013

Wednesday, 19 December 2012

So you think you're a Shipping Geek!

Tradewinds (18/12/12) has posted a 'Litmus Test', developed by Shipping Analyst, Sydney Levine, designed to separate the shipping wannabes from the true geek. I got 20 out of 20. Good fun, happy to answer questions via the Blog or you can email the author.