Saturday, May 18, 2013

Siesmic Invasion

The seismic invasion of Halifax is at its height with two more boats arriving this morning and three more later., joining the two that are already here. There will be a mass exodus on Tuesday as they leave for the licensed research area, and will be joined by an eight vessel. They will start actual work around May 25.

Today's arrivals mark the first X-bow ships to call in Halifax. The patented hull form is said to be better at sea keeping and more fuel efficient than conventional ship's bows, and dozens of X-bow type ships have been built for offshore supply and seismic work, since it was developed. The X-bow form is patented and the name is a registered trade mark of the Ulstein group, who developed the original, but others have built similar concepts, so the type is now generally referred to as an "inverted bow" since the most forward part of the ship's bow is at the waterline.The first ship with an X or axe bow was built in 2006 for Bourbon Offshore.

As previously reported here, Ocean Odyssey and Riverton are already in port.[see also Tugfax]
First arrival this morning was Geco Tau owned by Volstad Offshore AS of Aalesund, Norway. Built in 1982 by Sovikens, it has been on charter to WesternGeco since 2004, but worked for the predecessor Geco since it was built.
It has the appearance of a conventional seismic research ship, with large covered deck area, for cable stowing. As a takeup vessel its streamers will be about 2 km long.

Next in was the novel X-bow WG Magellan. Built in 2009 in Vigo, Spain by Barreras,  it measures 6922 gross tons. As one of the prime vessels in the exploration, it can tow 12 streamers up to 10 km long.The ship is one of six Ulstein SX124 class designs built for WesternGeco ( two in Spain).
Thanks to the odd bow shape, there are extending docking wings similar to those found on cruise ships. Surprisingly for a ship fitted with all sorts of thrusters, it took tugs to tie up at pier 27.

Expected later today, its sister WG Cook dates from 2010 and was built by Drydocks World in Dubai.It measures 6599 gross tons.It was the fourth Ulstein SX124 designed boats delivered by the same shipyard and last of six  of the class for WesternGeco.

Also due are two ships from Superport Marine in Port Hawskbury. Strait Explorer and Strait Cygnet Signet will also be participating in the project.

The standby vessel Atlantic Tern (ex Atlantic Birch II) will be joining the team, but will not be coming in to Halifax.

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