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$83M pipelay system ordered for Fennih

Construction vessel to get new pipe laying system DSND Ocean Tech Ltd. of Aberdeen has placed an $83-million contract with Norson Power to design, manufacture and install a pipelaying system aboard construction vessel Fennica. The innovative design will enable the high speed laying of rigid pipelines measuring up to 12 in. in diameter and flexible pipelines and risers measuring up to 19 in. in diameter in water depths of 6,560 ft. (2000 m). The system comprises a lightweight stern ramp, to be mounted on the vessel's existing A' frame foundations, complete with containerized hydraulic power packs and control cabin. Capable of elevation between 20 and 90 degrees, the ramp incorporates a pipe clamp and straightener as well as Norson's unique triple track tensioner, which is designed to handle a wide range of rigid and flexible pipes without damaging fragile surfaces and coatings.

Safety features include a fail-safe elevating mechanism and main and auxiliary work platforms which remain horizontal whatever the ramp angle. With the Norson system, Fennica will be able to store and lay up to 1,000 tons of pipe on the main reel and 250 tons of pipe (or umbilical) on the piggyback reel.

Angus Lamont, project engineer at DSND commented: "We needed a lightweight system which not only offered a high level of safety but could be quickly installed on a number of 'vessels of opportunity' with minimum modification.

Tough requirements; but Norson came up with the best solution." Norson Power is a long established Scottish company with factories in both Glasgow and Aberdeen. Other current orders include modular pipelaying and specialized winch systems for the offshore oil and gas industries. Strategic positioning of standby vessels justified The British government's decision to station a third standby vessel on the Western Approaches (see MR /EN December, 1996 European Update) has immediately proved justified with the salvage of a tanker carrying 28,000 tons of urea by emergency towing vessel (ETV) Far Minara. Remarkably, this first operation for the powerful anchor handling tug took place only half a mile from where it was moored.

Having just taken on fuel at Falmouth, the Singapore-managed tanker Chembulk Rotterdam ran aground threatening to pollute the Cornish coastline. HM Coastguard immediately gave clearance to Howard Smith Salvage Ltd., operator of the 12,400-hp Far Minara, to give assistance. After several hours the tanker was successfully refloated.

Howard Smith also acted as a consultant in the successful recovery of semi-submersible rig Shelf 4 which broke away from its berth in Portland Harbour during the severe gales which recently hit the English South Coast.

Profits mount for U.K. ship repairer A&P, one of the U.K.'s leading ship repair groups, has projected that turnover by the close of the 1996 financial year will double that of 1995. Employment levels at all four of the company's facilities Wallsend (Tyne & Wear), Chatham, Southampton and Falmouth — are at the highest level reached in more than a decade.

Part of A&P's success is credited to a three-year investment program in which it spent millions of pounds on facilities, apprenticeship schemes, retraining, updating working practices and improving productivity.

During the past few months, A&P Tyne handled a $33-million contract for the life extension of FPSO Maersk Dorset; Falmouth won a $14-million deal to refit the U.K. Ministry of Defence (MoD) Royal Fleet Auxiliary (RFA) vessel Fort Victoria and completed the annual refit of Stena Challenger, and Southampton clinched prestigious cruise liner contracts such as the refit of SS Norway and Fred Olsen Lines' vessels Black Watch and Black Prince. In addition, this month, Cunard flagship QE2 will arrive for a 19-day, $20-million revamp.

A&P Chatham, while not enjoying such high profile contracts, has experienced significant growth this year with turnover up 31 percent. The company has completed no fewer than 25 contracts for scheduled dredger repairs, as well as 125 emergency repair contracts for customers in the same industry. The yard also derives around 40 percent of its business from supplying flying squads to tackle afloat or in-port work for customers, primarily Europeans.

Tyne's $33-million Maersk contract, placed by the AP Moller Group, is a follow-on deal from a successful life extension project the yard performed on sistership Dagmar Maersk earlier in the year.

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