Since delivery from her builders, Partner Shipyard - Szczecin, she has been used to carry columns and blades for wind turbines for on and offshore use but she also has utility in the oil industry too with their need for moving complicated assemblies. She will be in demand and her design will surely be emulated more and more in future. After Ellesmere Port she headed for El Ferrol then Brake, Nantes and Alveiro.
Another striking silhouette is the confusingly named North Sea Atlantic. She was ordered in 2012 by Technip and newly delivered this summer by Norway’s Bergen Group shipyard just as the news seems to speak of an oil glut with the price of Brent crude well down from market norms and that is sending some waves of concern through the offshore oil and gas exploration industry. You need strong nerves and the confidence of your f nancial backers over the long term when operating in this immensely complex and expensive business.
The reasons behind the drop in the oil price seems to be a mixture of successful new fields coming on stream maybe with faltering demand due to economic issues, but also due to the success of ‘fracking’ especially in the USA and Canada. No wonder it causes headaches for ship-owners who need to order hi-tech vessels years ahead in the prospect and with the need to earn lucrative long term charters from the oil industry.
Still, the UK east coast is well used to the seeming ebbs and flows of confidence in the offshore industries and any downturn in activity is not yet apparent with ports from NE Scotland to Great Yarmouth reporting signifi cant offshore business with Peterhead, Blyth, the Tyne and Sunderland, and of course Aberdeen, all being extremely positive about the energy industry.
As silhouettes go in this business, North Sea Atlantic is more attractive and ‘ship-like’ than many of the hi-tech vessels and in October she was seen in the Tyne to load flexible umbilical pipe from the manufacturers. She is a multi-tasker, with her crane, carousel for pipe, her hold and deck space, and large accommodation block for up to 120 personnel. She is able to construct, lay, inspect and maintain sea bed pipelines and structures. I understand she is on a five year charter with a further five year extention and/or purchase option initially working in UK and Norwegian waters.