Frank Reiersen, captain of the AHTS Bourbon Arctic, largest vessel of the BOURBON fleet, shares with us his experience and the experience of her crew.
You're captain of the Bourbon Arctic, what does that mean for you?
Frank Reiersen: It really is a dream come true. When, in summer 2017, my crew manager contacted me about this position, I accepted it right away. At the time I was captain of the Bourbon Orca, another AHTS with the company. I had spent 19 years on board this type of vessel with BOURBON, but the Bourbon Arctic is truly unique because of its modernity, its power, and its versatility. Also, the change of command between captains takes place according to a very strict protocol. I spent 3 weeks on board and participated in a rig move. For me, things went pretty naturally, but a new vessel comes with new clients and new challenges.
What assignment is the Bourbon Arctic on now?
F.R. : We are supporting the oil & gas company Lundin in exploration operations in the Barents Sea, in the Arctic. More specifically, we move and supply one of the oil rigs, in extremely cold conditions. The Bourbon Arctic is custom built to perform the most complex operations in the most hostile environments.
Thanks to its versatility, we can offer our clients a full package of offshore services.
What other elements set it apart from a classic AHTS?
F.R. : It is much larger (93 meters in length) and its bollard pull is more powerful (307 tons). It can accommodate a large quantity of equipment. Thanks to its versatility, we can offer our clients a full package of offshore services: anchor raising, resupply, ROV interventions, etc. Thanks to its many assets, this vessel probably has no equivalent on the market.
What did you feel when you boarded her for the first time?
F.R. : First of all, I was struck by the size of the vessel, its beam, its spacious deck... Here, everything is designed to ensure efficiency of operations and the comfort of the crew. One example: the cranes on the deck are mounted on rails for more maneuverability. What’s more, its crews find it a pleasant everyday living space: television, Internet, fitness center... Not to mention the cabins, we sleep very well, and meals, our head cook is exceptional! Basically, working on the Bourbon Arctic is a way of life, between challenge and comfort.
The key to success is thinking as one, both in the service of the assignment and the safety of everyone.
What do you like the most about this vessel?
F.R. : Her crew – they are very experienced and professional. Each member has been carefully selected to work onboard. I think that working together under such difficult conditions, in the cold and darkness, brings us together while it toughens us. After all, we are on board together for half the year. The key to success is thinking as one, both in the service of the assignment and the safety of everyone. And if I think that one of us has poor morale, I do my best to motivate them. More than ever here, teamwork is essential: the captain alone does not make the vessel.
What is behind your longevity with BOURBON?
F.R. : Its the skilled people I have met over my years with the group. Combine that with exceptional vessels and I have everything I need!