Normand Reach a construction support vessel (CSV) owned by Solstad Offshore ASA stopped off at Gibdock in Gibraltar for a quick high specification clean up before departing for Western Australia to provide light construction services for McDermott on the 500 million barrel Ichthys offshore gas condense field. The Normand Reach was built in 2014 built it is 121m LOA with a 23m beam and has 1,300m2 main deck space, a 7.2x7.2m moonpool, 250tonne construction crane and accommodation for 100 people.
“Our decision to use Gibdock on the Normand Reach project was based on our previous good experience with the yard,” says Conrad Melhus, Solstad Shipping Technical Manager Norway. “The fact that Gibraltar is on the route from the North Sea to Singapore/Australia via Suez Canal was also a factor. A lot of cleaning and paintwork performed on the hull, and the climate in Gibraltar is most favourable in April compared to Norway. Gibdock demonstrated once again that it was a good choice for Solstad Shipping AS.”
In order to work in Australian water the vessel had to comply with the very high hull cleanliness standards set by Australia’s National Biofouling Management Guidelines for the Petroleum Production and Exploration Industry. The Australian guidelines covering invasive species are among the most demanding in the world. In addition to normal hull cleaning and propeller polishing work the guidelines also focus on a number of niche areas subject to biofouling including; hull fittings such as rudder hinge, se chest, bilge keel, bow thrusters, associated gratings anchors and chain lockers deck winches.
“The internal surfaces of sea chests, for example need to be painted with antifouling coatings that are suitable for the flow conditions of seawater through the chest,” says Gibdock Ship Manager Filip Tsankov. “These standards demand deep cleaning and close attention to detail.” Gibdock has performed hull cleaning work in line with Australian expectations on several occasions, he adds.
Gibdock also undertook some special fabrication work as part of the job, with new plating installed to reinforce the vessel’s bridge and main deck protection against the threat of piracy.
“What is certain is that more complex offshore projects have been coming through from the major oil and gas majors in recent months, and our purpose-built ‘Pad 1’ area for heavier work and fabrication has been playing a significant role in ongoing projects.” said Richard Beards, Managing Director, Gibdock. The new ‘Pad 1’, is a specialised area providing the ability to pre-fabricate substantial sections of a project and assemble specialist equipment prior to a vessel’s arrival. The 2,940m2 purpose-built pad offers an area of 12 tonnes per m2 load-bearing workspace to support the growing range of large and complex projects that are being attracted to the yard. Pad 1’s is location alongside Gibdock’s Panamax dock.
In June 2017, Solstad Offshore, Farstad Shipping and Deep Sea Supply have merged into one company – SolstadFarstad ASA, concentrating on the high market for Offshore Service Vessels (OSV).