My Workplace

Aye Aye Landlubbers, Well,one of the benefits of putting a dog-leg in the course, as we did, is that it has taken us just outside of the standard route so there has been a marked lack of traffic today.
So our heading is now 050, we are still making about 7.5 knots, the sea is less than a meter (and lovely and blue still) the temp is now 26 which those with a weather eye open will notice is two degrees lower than last night. We have been slowly moving North every day and have now travelled from 68 miles north of the equator to nearly 1000 miles north of the equator so it will get a little cooler each day.
Midnight position is 16* 57.5′ N 114* 58.5′ E

see below for the positions so far

23rd voyage

I thought that for the people reading this blog (both of you) that it might be interesting to find out what my workplace looks like and where I drive the vessel from, so I have taken a few snaps and will add a bit of explanation to each one in order for you to get an idea of where I am when I am not at home.

Here was the view from the heli-deck this afternoon at about 1700 I tried to show you the effect of an unbroken horizon.

Just the sea as far as you can see, not everyone’s cup of tea, but a treat for me.




OK so that is where I walk every day, weather permitting. I alternate 15 laps clockwise then counterclockwise incase I end up with one leg shorter than the other.

So here is the working deck showing the port side. The pipe tunnel is in the middle.


The big white roll of stuff is actually floatation collars for the pipeline we are laying, as were will be doing whats known as a “beach pull”. We have to set up station off the beach in enough water to hold position, then we send a wire from us to a fixed anchor point ashore, through a sheave then back onto the pipeline that we are producing, and as the joints are welded we heave it out of our own back end and float it under tension ashore.
Once we have enough hanging out our back end to reach the shore we can then start moving forward to lay the rest of the pipe.
The diameter of the pipe is 42 inches and will also be concrete coated. Its a whopper.
You can see what we call the “start up head” and “lay down head” towards the stern (white bits of pipe which are attached to the pipeline) and you can see length of pipe (without the concrete coating) sat in the cradle about midships, which is where it would start its journey to the forward part of the ship, across to the middle, then welded up in the firing line, and eventually ejected as part of the pipeline out of our back end.

So here is the starboard side.


Just behind the crane you can see the diving bell which is attached to the saturation chamber. The containers around it are the support system and dive control shack.
Just aft of that on the red davit is the ROV which is our remote operated submarine and its own control shack and there are various other stores containers, dive gas and welding gas racks, and assorted bits and pieces.

Well that’s the outside taken care of here is the the bridge.
This is just a shot showing the three other guys of the bridge team. Ed, Tom, and Rey. The shot is looking across from the port side to starboard towards the Radio / Admin room.


Here is the radio / admin room (without Errol and Talli who would normally be in there but were having dinner when I took this) which is situated on the forward starboard side of the bridge.


So from the radio room looking across to the port side and the seating area where we hold bridge briefings and any impromptu meetings that need to be held for operational purposes and sometimes just for lounging about.


So now we get down to the bridge, and looking across to the starboard side, this is where the pipe tension controls are.
When a pipeline is laid it has to be done under tension or else when it reaches the back of the ship it would just snap off. The size of the pipe and the depth of the lay are key factors and the tensioner operator ensures that as we move the vessel forward the tension on the pipeline stays as it should be. In the past we have had some great characters on the tensioner Like Bert from Oz (who was always telling me how to kill different snakes, and also educated me about rainwater collection and storage for drinking) Gus from Borneo who is a chief of a long house there and great fun to have on the bridge always smiling and laughing and a multi talented bloke. Bing who was just great crack with story after story of “how it used to be done” The Sheriff who was another larger than life character and who cut quite a debonair figure and was again full of stories of the old days. Most of these guys were well into their sixties when on here so had decades of tales to tell.


This is still on the port side of the bridge showing the controls for the anchor winches. Even though we are a DP vessel we do have the capacity to deploy up to 8 anchors if needs be however we only have three attached now and only use them if =we have to wait outside a port for any length of time before berthing. We rarely ever go to port so this is a lonely part of the bridge ha ha


Now looking slightly across to starboard and to where I and the rest of the bridge team actually drive the vessel from.
The station closes to the camera is the manual controls for the 6 azimuth thrusters which we can combine onto a simple joystick that controls all of them. We can all drive using the 6 azimuth separate controls but it is bit like trying to wrestle an octopus. The next screen is the power management system which we can start and stop thrusters and we need them and also keep an eye on power requirements which we would then refer to the engine room to provide more generators if required or less if not.
Then in front of the two blue comfy chairs are the DP operator consoles where we do all the fine movements and adjustments when we are down to the vessel movements for operational purposes. The various screens above are CCTV cameras diver cameras survey screen ROV cameras position measuring equipment feedbacks and the like.
I have spent nearly 4 years of my life on this bridge and in those chairs (FFS MrsB check the lottery tickets)


This one just shows the search light controls, all the light switches for the decks, the PA announcer (i have fun with that) the Differential GPS position measuring equipment, radar, radios, AIS. Navtex GPS navigator, and other assorted stuff on the port side of the bridge


Here is what it looks like from behind the driving chairs.


I am pretty sure that many people from ashore who perhaps know me from the pub or the comedy, don’t really compute that I have a proper professional job, and as such they probably have little idea of what it actually entails, so I hope that this has given you all (well both of you) an insight into what my working environment is like.

Love and peace

Now if you would like here is a video of what we do shot from the perspective of a piece of pipe


2 thoughts on “My Workplace

  1. Wow and double wow!!

    That is so interesting and so well explained

    You are Captain Kirk on the bridge of the Enterprise

    I’m in suitable awe

    I’m gonna read all that again, unstoned, tomorrow, but I reckon it’ll be even better then!!

    Lovin yir work, ma man!!


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