JUNE 29, 2012 — A U.K. court has been told that British marine surveyor David Mockett was killed by a bomb blast in Yemen on July 20 last year after he had doubts that an allegedly hijacked tanker, the Brillante Virtuoso, had ever been attacked.
At the time of the incident, on July 6, 2011, the Brillante Virtuoso hit the headlines when shortly after it reported the attack it then reported a fire on board which was beyond its control and said that the intention was to abandon ship.
The guided missile cruiser, USS Philippine Sea (CG 58), operating under Combined Maritime Forces (CMF), responded to the distress call. When the Philippine Sea arrived on the scene, it observed smoke coming from the superstructure of the ship and that the crew had abandoned ship in a life-raft. The Philippine Sea found no evidence of pirates and concentrated its efforts on assisting the crew members. (See earlier story)
The Daily Telegraph reports that Mr. Mockett's wife told an inquest yesterday that she had received an email from her husband saying he "could not find any evidence of bullet holes or exposure to grenades."
Det Supt Jonathan Tottman, from Scotland Yard's counter terrorism squad. who was sent to Aden to investigate Mr. Mockett's death, told the court that he ruled out official Yemeni claims that al-Qaeda was behind the bombing.
Mr. Tottman said Mr Mockett's last job was to investigate "criminal enterprise, piracy on the high seas where a third of the world's oil goes through at any one time in very busy shipping lanes."
He said Somali pirates had targeted shipping lanes, but said a scam was being operated so insurers would pay out once "attacked" ships had been surveyed for damage and loss.
"This was a scam and a lot of money was being made," he told the Plymouth and south Devon coroner Ian Arrow. "David had great integrity and professionalism and would not bow to bully boy tactics."
The coroner recorded a verdict of unlawful killing.
Read the Daily Telegraph story HERE
JULY 24, 2012 — Harvey, La., based Inland Salvage Inc. (ISI) reports that it has completed the successful fuel removal, partial dismantlement and refloating of a stranded 2,500 ton posted drill barge. The drill barge had suffered side shell damage and loss of watertight integrity due to contact with a support barge in rough seas. As a result, it was unable to discharge ballast and refloat after completing work-over operations in Caillou Island Field, Timbalier Bay, Louisiana. The drill barge's location in a corridor between barrier islands exposed the site to periodic heavy seas and swells.
The barge's owner called upon third-party divers initially but they were unable to make the required repairs, and advised the owners to seek professional salvage assistance. ISI was immediately contracted and salvage crews and equipment were dispatched to the site within 24 hours.
The arrival of tropical storm Debby, with deteriorating sea conditions, required that refloat efforts be put on hold and immediate actions be taken to prevent further damage to the vessel during the storm. Side shell shoring was achieved by way of vertical toggles along the damaged exterior section of the hull. The side shell toggles arrested the "breathing" of shell plating (moving in and out with oncoming seas) and stopped damage spreading into other compartments. Next, steel plates were installed over longitudinal splits in the side shell and bolted into position. The steel plate and bolting arrangement stiffened damaged side shell sections to resist the working of interior framing. All emergency salvage repairs were in place and ISI was able to evacuate crews before onslaught of the storm.
Underwater efforts by ISI salvage divers using underwater burning, underwater welding, and patch installation was heavily backed up and supported by a topside crew of welding and fabrication personnel. These topside personnel insured that prefabbed components requested by the divers would be ready to hit the water as needed.
With the passing of the storm, the salvage crews returned and found that the emergency response salvage repairs were intact and had effectively prevented the spread of hull damage. ISI conducted thorough pipeline and side scan surveys of the area surrounding the casualty. The surveys revealed live pipelines passed under the barge leading to surrounding wellheads. Extensive surveys of surrounding pipelines greatly limited the ability of anchoring or spud type mooring systems and restricted the use of ISI's heavy lift salvage barges. ISI opted to mobilize a 175 series lift boat with a 115 ton crane to the site to use as a work platform.
ISI's on-site Salvage Master, Mr. Peter Drummond, working closely with ISI Project Management and Argonautics Marine Engineering, developed a modified plan involving the removal of 170 tons of drill equipment and drill floor structure along with the discharge of 375 tons of liquid ballast and cargo. A specialty team of shipbreakers was mobilized to assist divers and crew in removal of topside structure. Airlifting removal of residual mud build-up in the hull was restricted to damaged area. The remaining mud would provide ballast without the complications associated with free surface water. All participants were aware of the limited window of opportunity and the consequences if a storm caught the barge partially afloat in the narrow confines of the pipeline and wellhead field. All structure removal work was complete and permission was received to proceed with the modified refloat plan.
Within 18 hours of getting the notice to proceed, the vessel was refloated, moved away from wellhead, stabilized, and was ready to begin its journey to the shipyard for repairs.
Towing vessels and crews, familiar with the area, skillfully maneuvered the rig's hull through the very confined and shallow field. The towing company's captains kept in constant radio contact with the salvage master, providing updates to the salvage crew on tow conditions. The cooperation between the towboats and the Salvage Master enabled the underway movement of ballast and pumping to reflect the stability adjustments as the tow progressed.
ISI worked closely with the USCG / MSU Houma during the evolution and provided real-time updates from beginning to end.
AUGUST 22, 2012—Nichols Brothers Boat Builders, Freeland, WA, was recently contracted by Harley Marine Services, Seattle, WA, to build two 100 ft x 40 ft, Z-drive, ship-assist tractor tugs.
Nichols Brothers Boat Builders began construction of the first tug in May and has started construction prefabrication along with some assembly for the second tug at its shipyard in Freeland. Simultaneous construction of the tugs will increase productivity, and shorten material handling, thus lowering the costs for both the shipyard and Harley Marine.
Designed by Jensen Maritime of Seattle, WA, the tugs will be ABS load line vessels, each outfitted with two Caterpillar 3516C diesel main engines coupled to the Rolls Royce z-drive system. Each tug will also have two Cat C9 generators. The propulsion package will produce over 90 tons of bollard pull giving the tugs exceptional pulling power and maneuverability.
Each tug will be outfitted with Mackay Marine Electronics, Technicold by Northern Lights HVAC system and Markey winches forward for ship assist and aft for towing. Additionally, each will have a Smith Berger tow pin aft.
The first tug, Hull #S173, will be named M/V Robert Franco, is scheduled for delivery in the spring of 2013. The second tug, Hull#S174, the M/V Ahbra Franco, will be delivered in mid-summer 2013.
Construction of the first tug is well underway. The pilothouse, bow, and both port and starboard wing tanks are standing, with steel work bulked out and outfitting hot work on going. The vessel’s midbody skeg has been set with the jigs in place ready to accept bottom plate sections and internals close behind. All trades have been working on prefab and are starting on rough in assembly as needed.
JULY 5, 2012 — Fincantieri has received a contract for the construction of 30 steel caissons that will be used in the Costa Concordia salvage operation.
The contract, described as "worth tens of millions of euros" to the Italian shipbuilder, will see the caissons built at a number of Fincantieri shipyards. The 30 caissons will have a total weight of about 11,500 tons.
The bins will be installed on one side of the cruise ship and gradually filled with water to facilitate the straightening of the vessel, using a set of "strand jacks" attached to the underwater platform support. Once the ship is straightened, water-filled caissons will be installed on the other side. The caissons of both sides will then be emptied from the water, so as to float the ship and allow towing in an Italian port.
AUGUST 8, 2012 — Germanischer Lloyd (GL) is to class the six trimaran SWATH WindServer wind farm support vessels that Norwegian shipbuilder Fjellstrand has on order for Denmark's World Marine Offshore A/S (see earlier story).
The vessels, two 30 m vessels and four 25 m, will have a service speed of 25 knots and the capacity to carry 25 and 12 service personnel, respectively. They are scheduled to enter service in March 2013.
The Fjellstrand WindServer, includes a number of innovative features which have been designed to improve access to offshore installations in rough weather, improve fuel efficiency, ensure the safety of the personnel on board, and reduce running costs. The vessels will be equipped with four engines that power two controllable pitch propellers, giving improved operational flexibility while ensuring redundant capacity.
The vessels will be equipped with ballasting systems allowing them to shift between a rough weather SWATH mode and a light weight transit mode. A fixed stabilisation foil adds to the design's stability - one of a set of permanently integrated motion damping devices that are part of the hull concept and designed to reduce construction and maintenance costs by avoiding complex active motion control systems.
"The offshore service sector is currently one of the innovation highpoints within the maritime sector," says Ronnie Westerman, GL's Business Development Manager for North Europe. "GL has been intensively involved in this area over the past several years, assessing new designs, materials and components and we are extremely happy to be once again working with Fjellstrand to help to bring this exciting new design to life."
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