The hull of the North Sea Gjøa platform is on its way to Norway from the Samsung shipyard in South Korea. At the weekend an EU naval force provided a military escort as the hull passed through the notorious Gulf of Aden.
The result of 1.7 million hours worked in South Korea, the Gjøa platform hull is now on its way to Stord via the Suez Canal.
The long voyage to Stord is estimated to take 40-45 days. At the weekend the hull was transported through the Gulf of Aden, where shipping has recently been subject to attacks by Somali pirates who hijack vessels.
This particular transport was given a high-priority classification due to its vulnerability and importance. The vessel is slow-moving and lies low in the water, making it easy to board. StatoilHydro and subcontractor Dockwise were therefore given a military escort through the Gulf of Aden by the EU forces in the area. The escort was initially undertaken by the Belgian frigate Louise-Marie, and then by the Swedish corvette Malmø.
“The protection we were given in the form of a dedicated escort was crucial to being able to, and wanting to pass through the Gulf at this time. We are very pleased with the cooperation we have enjoyed with the authorities and with the protection provided by the Belgian and Swedish vessels,” said Kjetel Rokseth Digre, director for the Gjøa construction project.
The development of Gjøa, Vega and Vega Sør, which is currently the biggest development project on the Norwegian continental shelf, is opening up a new part of the North Sea for oil and gas production. Vega and Vega Sør will be developed using subsea installations connected to the Gjøa platform.
The hull now on its way to Stord is one of the major building bricks on the project. After arrival it will be moored until Christmas while awaiting assembly with the topsides.