Leading on from my piece [in the print edition] on the MacDuff Shipyards Group, two of its recent new builds the Sally McLoughlin and the Eileen McLoughlin of John McLoughlin & Son Shipping helped manoeuvre the giant oil drilling unit Blackford Dolphin into the Harland & Wolff Shipyard in Belfast at the beginning of December 2013.
Harland & Wolf (H&W) won the multi-million contract for the repair and refurbishment of this titan semi-submersible rig against tough competition. The work to be carried out over a 7/8 week period created hundreds of jobs over the Christmas and early new year period in many disciplines including welding, electrical, engineering, painting etc. Many of the skilled tradesmen working on the contract are from Northern Ireland, but workers have also been employed from the rest of the UK and from Poland and Lithuania.
The awarding of this important contract to H&W by Aberdeen based Dolphin Drilling Ltd was tremendous news not only for the yard, but for Northern Ireland. It follows on the successful completion by H&W in 2012 of the SeaRose FPSO project for Husky Energy within time and budget.
During this work on the Blackford Dolphin, she became a very prominent Belfast landmark. Even the famous H&W cranes Samson and Goliath had to be moved to accommodate the huge drilling unit.