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April 21, 2010

Solstad converts PSV's at Gibdock for Petrobras charter


Solstad Offshore ASA is redeploying two UT755 LN platform supply vessels as potable water and fuel oil carriers to service Brazil's offshore rig market for Petrobras.

To ready them for this role, the 2006-built Normand Trym (3,326 dwt) and the 2008-built Normand Vibran (3,376 dwt) entered Gibraltar's Gibdock for a four week project that saw the mud tanks in each vessel converted to store 1,500 cu.m of fresh water with other tanks converted for 800 cu.m of fuel oil carriage. At time of writing, the 74m long by 16m wide UT755 LN vessels were en route to Brazilian waters.

"We have undertaken routine repair work for Solstad in the past, building up a solid relationship with a high value client," said Richard Beards, Gibdock Commercial Director. "However, this is the first time we have undertaken one of their conversion projects."

"This was an extensive job in terms of planning and complexity, while limited access to tanks made welding challenging and restricted the number of men on board at any given time, dictating the pace of work," he added.

Solstad U.K. Technical Manager Malcolm Rosie said Gibdock was chosen to carry out this work because of a very positive attitude to the project, good location en route to Brazil and competitive rates.

Along with general steelwork, the job included installation of steel tank floors that were prefabricated by the shipyard to minimize the need to weld in position. A 600 mm cofferdam arrangement had to be built into the tank bottoms on both vessels to meet class requirements.

All converted tanks were blasted and coated, with a specialized 500 micron thick Sigma paint applied in a single operation. The job also saw the No:1A ballast water tank (Forepeak Tank) blasted and coated for carriage of fresh water.

Gibdock vessel superintendent Steve Davis said modernization of existing pipe and valve work and installation of new pipework for fresh water carriage proved a demanding task, involving galvanization. "

These are sister ships, but it is fair to say that the pipe work on board Normand Trym was more complex than was the case with Vibran," he said.

"This type of conversion project is not common, either in general or for Gibdock," Mr. Davis added. "As well as the extensive pre-planning and pre-fabrication, it required considerable adaptability to deal with the structural work."

"Of course, during the conversion/dry-docking there are always challenges, and any that did come about were dealt with in a very professional manner by Gibdock to the satisfaction of both Solstad and the classification society DNV," said Mr. Rosie. "The quality of work and flexibility to resolve any technical challenges by Gibdock was excellent and the project was completed on time and on budget.

In addition to the conversion work, Gibdock also carried out Normand Trym's scheduled drydocking at the same time.

On completion of the conversion project, considerable attention was paid to ensuring that all signage on board both ships would meet Port State Control requirements for operating in Brazilian waters.

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