Thursday, July 12, 2018

Tow of Epic Proportions as Semi-Submersible Switches Oceans

Drilling Rig Towed Half Way Around the Globe
Shipping News Feature
WORLDWIDE – AP Møller Maersk subsidiary Maersk Supply Service (MSS), which provides a range of services to the energy sector including deep water operations and rig moving, has just completed a tow of epic proportions, the haulage of a semi-submersible from Las Palmas to North-Western Australia. Minimising fuel costs for the vessels involved is always the priority in a long distance tow, 10,230 nautical miles in this case, so MSS deployed the new-build Anchor Handling Tug Supply vessel Maersk Masterof the Starfish series for the job as its energy efficient design kept running costs to a minimum.

The towed unit was a semi-submersible MODU (mobile offshore drilling unit), this type of rig has proved over time to be the most stable, and therefore the safest type of drilling unit. The design initially meant the entire unit would be sunk and settled on the ocean floor but has proved more versatile and particularly safe in harsh sea conditions, compared with other designs.

The first leg of the tow was direct from Las Palmas to Cape Town. Maersk Master and the rig then rounded the Cape of Good Hope for a final port call in Port Louis, Mauritius before crossing the Indian Ocean to join Quadrant Energy’s Phoenix South and Van Gogh drilling campaign off the coast of North-Western Australia some 87 days after embarkation.

Design features of Maersk Master and her sister vessels of the Starfish series, include a fuel efficient and flexible hybrid propulsion system which enabled fuel consumption and associated costs to be minimised throughout the tow. With the vessel’s high capacity, Maersk Master was able to accommodate the complete rig mooring system on board, minimising rig draft, as well as optimise bunker costs along the journey by retaining maximum bunker of 2,300 tonnes. MSS Managing Director and Operations Manager Asia-Pacific, David Kearney, explained:

“Our new-build vessels are designed to maximise fuel economy and be flexible in the way they use power. However, there is always more that can be done during any operation to ensure fuel consumption is kept to a minimum. That is why we scrutinise all operational plans to make sure we optimise work scopes with our customers and ensure lower speed is used when timelines allow.”

Photo: Maersk Master on her long voyage which equates to less than 600 nautical miles short of half the circumference of the earth.