Marcon International Inc. of Coupeville, Wash. announced the sale of the dive support vessel Ocean Project from Oceaneering International, Inc. of Houston, Texas to private South American interests.
The Vanuatu-flagged Ocean Project (ex-Rambo, 0601, George E. Darby, Janie B, Cathy B, Nordic Offshore) was built in 1972 by Bel-Aire Shipyard, Ltd. of North Vancouver, British Columba, Canada as an offshore supply vessel and classed ABS +A1, Ice Class A, Towing Service, +AMS, Unrestricted. Ocean Project is powered by a pair Ruston 12RK3CM diesels totaling 5,300BHP with Seffle CP wheels in kort nozzles and fitted with a 400HP Ulstein tunnel bow thruster. The 185-ft x 45-ft x 16-ft vessel was originally built as an offshore supply vessel, but converted in 1986 by Transport Canada into a Search & Rescue Vessel and to tow small icebergs out of shipping lanes. The Canadian Government sold her into commercial use in 1993 when she was renamed Rambo under Panamanian flag.
Oceaneering purchased the vessel in 1997 and fitted her with a four-point mooring system and a sophisticated diving gear complete with two decompression chambers. Ocean Project then worked as an offshore maintenance / repair vessel conducting platform inspections, pipeline construction, hyperbaric welding, salvage, etc. She was used in 1999 to successfully retrieve the 2 ton Mercury space capsule Liberty Bell 7 from 16,040' of water. The capsule, piloted by astronaut Virgil "Gus" Grissom in 1961, sunk shortly after splash-down due to premature denotation of the explosive bolts designed to open the hatch in case of an emergency. The capsule subsequently filled with water and sank only minutes after the successful mission.
New owners are having the vessel promptly delivered on her own bottom to Peru, where she will be put into dry-dock and refurbished before re-entering oilfield service work. This is the second research / dive vessel sold by Marcon for Oceaneering and the first sale to the buyers.
Marcon acted as sole broker in the transaction. Oceaneering is replacing Ocean Project with a new vessel under the same name.