I am writing a bit about early Tidewater ships at the moment and so was looking through my files for a Halter Marine 180 footer. There were hundreds, but I don't have pictures of many. I did, however, find this photo taken in Singapore of a heavily loaded Tidewater ship. The cargo on the deck is drill pipe and, surprisingly, the ship may not be overloaded. On some small offshore vessels the loadline is so close to the main deck that a bit of a stern trim would make them look like this. Is it safe? Well, I would not fancy going to sea on it.

Back in 2001 the semi-submersible Sovereign Explorer was transported on a heavy lift ship from West Africa to UK where it was to take up a new contract. I had the job of updating its safety case and so when it arrived in Falmouth Bay and was unloaded from the Black Marlin I was waiting to join it. A had actually been asked to join it in Las Palmas but had declined. My job at the time was to assess risks to those on board such craft, and I felt that being on rig which was no more than balanced on the deck of a ship, with a hole cut in one of the pontoons for services, was a risk too far.

I have been surprised to find that I have never featured this fine vessel as Pic of the Day, so here it is, prompted by the information that Tidewater have sold it. It is best known for having been instrumental in the rescue of the survivors of the Deepwater Horizon disaster, using its FRC to advantage, to rescue people who had jumped into the sea, and to tow a liferaft to the ship. The lifeboats that were launched were also taken alongside the ship, until all the rig personnel were on board. The FRC was almost incidentally included in the spec of the ship, since it was designed by Vik Sandvik as a VS 480, and is one of six built at the Quality Shipyard in 2002.

 
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