Big Lift for West African TEN Project

By Wendy Laursen 2015-09-04 20:14:14

The offshore oil and gas TEN Project off Ghana is nearing completion. This month, four subsea manifolds and two riser bases, fabricated by FMC Technologies in Houston, were loaded out onto a transport vessel on their way to Ghana to be installed on the seabed in the TEN fields.

Tullow’s production and development projects in West Africa include the company’s flagship operated asset, the Jubilee field in Ghana, the TEN Project which is the group’s second development in Ghana and a portfolio of non-operated production assets in five further countries across the region.

The TEN Project will produce up to 80,000 barrels of oil per day, and is on track and on budget for first oil in mid-2016.

In June, the project celebrated another milestone when the turret was lifted into FPSO. The TEN FPSO is currently under construction in the JSL Shipyard in Singapore and the turret is one of the most significant modules to be installed. Weighing approximately 3055 tons, the turret is currently the biggest external turret in the world.


Polar Cruise Ship Designed with Solar, Battery Systems

By MarEx 2015-09-04 19:09:16

Naval architects Knud E. Hansen have designed a luxury expedition cruise ship for worldwide operation including Arctic and Antarctic regions. The vessel features a range of energy saving and emissions reductions technologies including solar and battery power provisions.

The vessel is designed for unrestricted ocean voyages and strengthened for Ice Class 1A service. It is designed for itineraries up to 21 days with 300 passengers on board, and is the result of increasing interest in smaller size vessels for specialized and customized cruising and expeditions.

The hull is ice strengthened and has a double hull covering all hull machinery and service spaces. The ship is specifically designed to operate safely in heavy seas and high winds as well as narrow passages and small ports. There are three main fire zones and the vessel exceeds safe-return-to-port requirements.

Propulsion and maneuverability is provided by two Azipod units and two bow thrusters. The diesel-electric power plant includes four medium-speed diesel generators in two separate engine rooms. The engines can be specified for Tier 3 NOx emission levels without exhaust gas treatment. Solar cells help offset the vessel’s electrical load and space is reserved for battery systems to provide true emission free and silent sailing for extra sensitive areas.

Engine heat recovery systems provide all of the vessels heating requirements and innovative HVAC systems reduce energy consumption. Advanced LED lighting and smart control systems contribute further to the overall low electrical load of the vessel. The green philosophy has also been considered by a combination of highly insulated windows and outside window walls combined with latest solar power technology.

All public facilities are concentrated on two decks, including an observation lounge with 360 degree views. Above the observation lounge a heli-deck is arranged. A unique feature is the glass aircraft hanger. The ships helicopter can be lowered by lift into a fire and explosion proof glass enclosure in the middle of the observation lounge, making for a fascinating showpiece. Passengers can also enjoy stunning panoramas from two Jacuzzis on the top deck, primarily heated by solar energy.

The vessel has 150 standard passenger cabins arranged on three decks and crew accommodation on two lower decks. All passenger cabins have outside views and the cabins on the bridge deck are all with balconies. A number of the standard cabins can, by the newly developed proprietry FlexCabin system, be transformed to suites for special luxurious voyages. For increased passenger comfort active stabilizer fins are also fitted.

For short passenger excursions, a large sea garage and retractable overhead davit is arranged at the transom for easy launching and retrieval of up to 15 Zodiac type boats and jet-skis. A tender boarding station for the watercraft is arranged close to the waterline at the after ship. The tender station includes a lobby, disinfection area and expedition store. The tender station is connected with the passenger accommodation by both elevator and stairway.

An ROV with camera equipment is installed for observation of the underwater environment up to 3,000 meters below the sea, such as coral reefs and aquatic sea-life. The high definition video images can be displayed throughout the vessel on the big-screens in the passenger lounges and also cabins via the ships integrated video system.

As far back as the 1960s, Knud E. Hansen has designed the first vessel specifically for transport of passengers in polar regions: the Lindblad Explorer. More recently, the company has designed the polar expedition vessel Fram and two ferries for the government of Newfoundland and Labrador, also for sailing in heavy ice conditions.

Principal Dimensions

Length overall: 139.40m

Length between perpendiculars: 120.20m

Breadth moulded: 20.50m

Design draught: 4.80m

Deadweight at design draught: abt 1350t

Service speed: 18 knots


Diver Jailed for Taking Historic Artifacts

By MarEx 2015-09-04 18:43:58

After a two year investigation by the U.K. Maritime & Coastguard Agency (MCA), a commercial diver has been jailed for two years and ordered to pay £35,000 ($53,000) after recovering historic cannons off the U.K. coast.

Vincent Woolsgrove of Ramsgate, Kent, pleaded guilty to fraud at Southampton Crown Court after he reported to the Receiver of Wreck that he had found and recovered five historic bronze cannons from two different shipwreck sites.

Two of the bronze cannons were English and had been recovered from the wreck of the Warship London. The other three cannons were also bronze, but were Dutch and were reported as having been recovered from an unidentified wreck site outside of U.K. territorial waters.

The cannons recovered from the Warship London were both very rare bronze cannons, one by gunfounder Peter Gill, thought to be the only surviving example of his work and the other bearing the Commonwealth crest and thought to be the only surviving example of a bronze gun of the Commonwealth.

The London was a warship originally built in Chatham dockyard in 1654 for the Commonwealth Navy, later it became part of Charles II’s Restoration Navy. In 1665 the Warship London accidentally blew up and sank off Southend, probably due to an explosion in the powder magazine.

All three of the Dutch bronze cannons that were reported as being found outside of U.K. territorial waters were 24lb guns which clearly showed the crest of the City of Amsterdam and were dated between 1600 and 1617.

In 2009, Woolsgrove was awarded title to all three Dutch cannons. At that time, the MCA had been unable to identify the current legal owner or the identity of the wreck site, and Woolsgrove maintained that they had been recovered from an unidentified wreck site outside of territorial waters.

The Dutch cannons were eventually sold at auction to a private collector for a sum in excess of £50,000 ($75,000).

In 2011, fresh information was received and a joint operation was undertaken by the MCA, Kent & Essex Police & Historic England. A search warrant was obtained for Woolsgrove’s house in Ramsgate and three further bronze cannons of the 16th century were found, along with a considerable amount of other wreck items including copper, lead, tin and glass ingots, ship’s bells and portholes.

Had Woolsgrove reported the cannons correctly, as is required by the Merchant Shipping Act 1995, he would have been entitled to a substantial salvage award.

In passing sentence, Judge Ralls said: “Mr Woolsgrove persistently misled officers of the crown, and these items have now been lost to the nation. It is to great credit that the MCA and those they instructed, have been able to identify these canons and show without any doubt where they came from.”

Alison Kentuck, Receiver of Wreck, Maritime & Coastguard Agency, said: “Our message is clear: all wreck material found within or brought within U.K. territorial waters must be reported within 28 days to the Receiver of Wreck. It is not a case of “finders keepers,” the rightful owner is always entitled to have their property back and this case shows that even where wreck artefacts are nearly 400 years old, there is still likely to be a legal owner.”


Saving Our Reefs With An Underwater Drone

By MarEx 2015-09-04 16:44:54

Australia’s Queensland University of Technology (QUT) has developed the world’s first autonomous robot designed to seek and kill the crown-of-thorns starfish (COTS), which are devouring the world’s coral reefs.

Conceived by QUT doctors Matthew Dunbabin and Feras Dayoub, the COTSBot drone patrols just a foot or two off the seafloor and is outfitted with stereoscopic cameras to give it depth perception. It is also equipped with five thrusters to maintain stability and a GPS system. The drone is designed to patrol for up to eight hours, and when it encounters its target, the COTSBot injects it with a fatal dose of bile salts using a syringe. The robot can deliver more than 200 lethal shots of bile, which are harmless to everything else on the reef.

“Human divers are doing an incredible job of eradicating this starfish from targeted sites, but there just aren’t enough divers to cover all the COTS hotspots across the Great Barrier Reef,” Dr. Dunbabin said in a statement. “We see the COTSBot as a first responder for ongoing eradication programs – deployed to eliminate the bulk of COTS in any area, with divers following a few days later to hit the remaining ones.”

Due to overfishing of the marine life that eats them, the COTS population has exploded recently and allowed the starfish to feast on the world’s coral reefs. Research suggests that COTS are responsible for about 40 percent of the Great Barrier Reef’s coral loss.

One feature of the COTSBot that separates it from other drones is its ability to learn. The robot has been trained to identify COTS by using thousands of images of COTS collected on the reef. If is unsure about whether something is actually a COTS, it will take a photo of the object rather than injecting it. The photo will then be examined by a human and the feedback will be incorporated into the robot’s memory.

The COTSBot completed its first sea trials earlier this week in Queensland’s Moreton Bay to test its mechanical parts and navigation system and is expected to begin working the reef autonomously in December.


Development of Louisiana Offshore Megaport Underway

By MarEx 2015-09-04 14:55:47

After seven years of planning, development of a deepwater port off the coast of Plaquemines Parish is underway. On August 31, the Louisiana International Deepwater Gulf Transfer Terminal Authority (LIGTT) announced that LIGTT Midstream Holdings would construct the port’s first phase, a dry bulk terminal, which is expected to be completed by the end of 2016.

The terminal will serve as a cargo transfer point for megaships that are too large to navigate the lower Mississippi. Using a hub-and-spoke distribution system, the transfer terminal will be capable of offloading eight 18,000-TEU ships simultaneously. And while the average U.S. port has a depth of 35 feet, the transfer terminal will have water depths of more than 80 feet.

The $25 million terminal is being financed through a combination of traditional and investment capital from an unnamed joint venture. The full development is expected to cost about $10 billion. According to LIGTT officials, the decision was made to develop the least costly phase of the port first to begin generating revenue that could eventually entice investors to finance the port’s more expensive phases. The megaport is expected to be completed in 2020.

Officials plan on submitting applications for the necessary permits with the U.S. Coast Guard and U.S. Army Corps of Engineers shortly and anticipate that they will be properly licensed in a year.

LIGTT Midstream Holdings is led by attorney Tom Thornhill and developer Jim Woodworth. Bechtel Corp., Evans Graves Engineers and Waldemar Nelson are providing engineering, design and permitting services.


Suez Canal Sets One-Day Record

By MarEx 2015-09-04 14:39:10

Less than one month after its inauguration, the newly expanded Suez Canal appears on track to hit Egypt’s lofty projections for increased canal traffic. The Suez Canal Authority (SCA) announced that the canal hit a new one-day record on September 1 by crossing 70 ships with a capacity of 4 million tons.

According to SCA, 34 ships passed through the canal from the north entrance and 36 from the south.

In a statement, SCA Chairman Mohab Mamish stated: “The increasing number of crossing ships sheds light on the importance of the establishment of the new Suez Canal to raise the capacity to handle the expected increase in global trade.”

Already the fastest route between Asia and Europe, the expansion has cut transit time from 18 to 11 hours. The canal’s upgrades include the construction of a 23-mile channel that allows two-way traffic and reduces waiting time.

The publicly-funded expansion cost about $8.5 billion, and Egypt expects it to establish the nation as an international trade hub. Egypt has also invested in new infrastructure such as mega-ports and terminal facilities to complement the canal and attract investment.

More than 17,000 ships transited the canal in 2014, which is about 50 ships per day. Egypt expects the expansion to increase traffic to 97 ships per day­­—34,000 annually—by 2023. Prior to expansion, the 120-mile canal earned Egypt about $5.3 billion annually and handled eight percent of the world’s sea trade. The SCA expects the upgraded canal to eventually boost annual revenue to $13.5 billion.