A novel drydocking operation has commenced in Mexico, following the successful loading of the 11,220 tonnes semi-submersible rig Mata Redonda on the main deck of Zhong Ren 3, the world’s largest semi-submersible barge.
Rotterdam-based ocean towage and heavy transportation specialists Fairmount Marine won the contract for the drydocking, using the 50,000 dwt Zhong Ren 3 as the platform.
Fairmount President Henk van den Berg says: “The loading of Mata Redonda was performed in complete safety at a position some six miles off Tampico, Mexico. A project team from Tampico’s Bosnar Yard is now busy on the rig’s programme of maintenance and associated works, which is expected to take around 60 days.
“This is the first deployment of Zhong Ren 3 as a drydocking platform. This solution was favoured due to its cost-effectiveness in relation to the alternative – a conventional drydocking in the United States.”
Zhong Ren 3, with a length of 196 m and breadth of 46 m, is an ideal drydocking work platform. The operation was performed by Fairmount for the Mexican drilling contractor Industrial Perforadora de Campeche S.A. de C.V. Following loading, Zhong Ren 3 was towed by the Fairmount-managed tug Hua An to moorings alongside the Bosnar Yard, with assistance from four local harbour tugs.
Zhong Ren 3’s last assignment involved the repositioning of the Trident IVa jack-up rig, from Angola to Zadar, Croatia. This was completed in July. The tow was performed by the 185 tonnes bollard pull tug De Hong. In readiness for the latest project, Zhong Ren 3 was towed to Mexico by the 120 tonnes bollard pull Hua An, following a rendezvous with De Hong off Las Palmas. The latter then commenced the tow of the semi-submersible rig Ocean Nomad, from West Africa to Invergordon, UK.
Following the Mexican assignment, the tug Hua An’s next task is to tow the Fairmount-managed 24,000 dwt semi-submersible barge Ocean Seal from Mobile to Angola. This voyage commences November 25 and involves the transport of the Kizomba B tendons (the second voyage this year for Heerema). Forward bookings for the Hua An/Ocean Seal combination include a transportation contract plus storage contract of rock associated with two offshore construction projects at Sakhalin, Russia. This transport project, due to commence in May 2005, will be undertaken on behalf of Van Oord. The works form part of a programme to enhance the protection of Chayvo Platform at the East Coast of Sakhalin.