Maxim Churkin, Master on the Bourbon Liberty 319, describes the handling and towing of the accommodation barge Seven Antares, off Angola, by 3 BOURBON AHTS vessels.
An offshore facility handling and towing operation consists in moving and positioning an offshore installation from a position to another. All through 2015, BOURBON participated in rig and barge moves in field operated by Chevron, in Angola. The 120 meters long Seven Antares accommodation barge was moored at a 350 m depth off Block 14. The objective of the mission was to move her 19.5 nautical miles from her original position.
These operations must be conducted in compliance with the highest safety standards. Main steps before any handling and towing operation are Risk Assessment, Job Safety Analysis and coordination between all the contracted vessels. This is when main decisions are taken: towage speed, timeline schedule, distribution of tasks, crew briefing etc.
"This kind of Anchor Handling operation is considered highly complex. High levels of concentration and well-coordinated actions are required, both on deck as well as from the bridge, in order to perform the operation safely and smoothly."Maxim ChurkinMaster on the Bourbon Liberty 319
Barge handling operation
This operation involved 3 AHTS vessels, namely Bourbon Crown, Bourbon Liberty 319 and Bourbon Liberty 224, with dedicated jobs: disconnecting and recovering all the mooring lines; connecting the towing line to the barge bridle.
Proceeding on towage toward final destination was then handled by Bourbon Crown, a DP2 and 193 t Bollard Pull AHTS. Towage speed was adjusted in order to arrive at 6 am the next day to be able to carry out all Anchor Handling operations were during day-time:
the positioning of the barge in coordination with the barge mover; and connecting the mooring lines to pre-laid anchors.
This barge move required genuine expertise because of highly specific operations such as the simultaneous presence of 2 wire lines on deck, one from the barge and another from the anchor and the installation of midline buoys and localization transponders on the anchor lines, at a precise length as to avoid compromising the anchor pattern arrangement.
Factors can change depending on the type of offshore facility moved. In the case of an accommodation barge, challenges can be for instance the mooring depth, the barge size, the distance to final destination… and of course the weather conditions, location etc. are to be taken into an account. Our crew has a great expertise in this type of activity, quite frequent in offshore world. Our major target is to proceed safely and meet Client requirements.