Friday, May 31, 2013

Some Assembly Required! - Part Three

Assembly of Seattle's State Route (SR99) Tunnel Boring Machine (TBM) reached an important milestone today with the placement of the Cutter Head into the assembly pit.

Newly appointed Washington State Secretary of Transportation, Lynn Peterson officiated this mornings  "topping off" the machine. (Look carefully, you can just make out an American flag attached to the Head.)

More important, officers from from Seattle Tunnel Partners (STP), in charge of actual construction of the tunnel. STP is a joint venture of Dragados USA and Tutor Perini Corporation. Local firms involved with the project include Frank Coluccio Construction and HNTB (nee Howard, Needles, Tammen, Bergendoff) Corporation.

And the "media."

Lifting the 17.45 m (57.5 ft) diameter Head, weighing in at 887 tons, from the Goldhoffer transporter, was a piece of cake for the modular rail mounted crane, with a capacity of  1,000 (short) tons.

The Head assembly was pre-staged at the Assembly Pit Thursday evening, so that the lift and placement could be conducted in daylight today.

Unfortunately, the media has never addressed the issue of just how complicated this tunnel construction is. To learn why divers and a decompression chamber are associated with this project,  click on this link.

As "They" say, a picture is worth a thousand words. So I've processed a series of frames, visualizing this event.

And so the TBM is basically laid out from end to end.  But more assembly still required. There are many more pieces to be added.

It has been a thrill  to witness the assembly of the Worlds Largest Tunnel Boring Machine. Many "thanks" to the Washington State Department of Transportation (WSDOT) for installing the web cam.

You can follow the on-going assembly by selecting the SR99 Web Cams button in the right margin. There are additional cameras covering action at either portal, as well as time lapse videos.

Some Assembly Required - Part Two
Some Assembly Required
First Ashore
Unloading Bertha Has Begun
Something Heavy This Way Comes!

Thursday, May 9, 2013

Something Strange This Way Comes!

For several weeks I had been following a series of events taking place in South Korea, where a radical departure in vessel design was taking shape. I verified data. I monitored daily progress.

Soon my target vessel disappeared in the Black Hole of the Atlantic, off Saldanha Bay South Africa.

Then I was stricken by the totally frustrating error message:  "Keyboard missing! Press any key to continue."  If the freaking keyboard is missing, how will pressing any key allow me to continue?  It took several days of contentious restarts to reinstall all my programs.

But by then, my target vessel had already made land fall, entering the Inter-Coastal Waterway at Port Aransas Texas, bound for Kiewit Offshore Services in Ingleside Texas.

The evolutionary Dockwise Vanguard was launched last November. Following sea trials, submersion tests and calibration, the latest entry into the heavy lift competition was delivered by Hyundai Heavy Industries in February 2013 to Dockwise of Rotterdam.

The radical design of the Dockwise Vanguard gives her limitless combinations for heavy lift shipments.

The most striking feature of the Dockwise Vanguard is the 12 story high command and accommodations structure, offset from the main deck, allowing unlimited length cargo capacity.

By offsetting the command structure, she has been visualized transporting a number of structures that until this design, would have been impossible to accomplish.

On a more practical vein, Vanguards ability to dry dock unlimited length vessels, will prove invaluable in servicing Floating Production Storage and Offloading  vessels. Eliminating the time and expense involved in "de-coupling" service and supply lines.

Dockwise Vanguard by the Numbers
•  Dockwise Vanguard was erected by Hyundai Heavy Industries in Ulsan South Korea.

•  On 15 September 2011, the steel cutting ceremony took place, a symbolic commencement of the beginning of the build.

•  Dockwise Vanguard was constructed by combining 558 sub-modules into 241 blocks. Think Leggo!
•  Type: 396 - Semi-Submersible Heavy Lift Cargo Ship, Double Bottom.
•  Length:   275 meters (902 feet)
•  Beam:  70 meters (230 feet)
•  Draft:  11 meters (36 feet)
•  116,173 dead weight tonnes (128,085 short tons)

•  Propulsion:  The power pack consists of two 6-cylinder in-line Wärtsilä 38 generating sets 4350 kW (5831 hp) output), two 12-cylinder Wärtsilä 38 engines 8700 kW output (11,662 hp) and one 6-cylinder in-line Wärtsilä 20 auxiliary engine 1200 (1,608 hp). Fixed speed electric motors drive controllable pitch propellers (CPP.)

In the bow, 360° tunnel thrusters for maintaining precise positioning.

•  Ballast: 223,770 m3 (US 59,113,780 gallons) Water weight 8 pounds per gallon ...
•  IMO Number 618783 (similar to the Vehicle Identification Number on a motor vehicle. Stays with the vessel forever, even when re-named.)
•  MMSI:  244656000. (All vessels operating on the high seas require a nine digit MMSI number to participate in the Global Maritime Distress and Safety System. There are four types of MMSI numbers, each intended for a certain purpose. The MMSI number is assigned to the vessel, not the radio.)
•  OCTOPUS Advisory Suite, a comprehensive motion monitoring, forecasting and decision-support system to select the most direct routing based on weather, sea conditions and cargo sensitivity variables.
•  There are two tunnels, providing a safe escape route for the crew in an emergency.

•  A fire wall separates the engine rooms from other areas.
•  USD $240 million investment.

For her maiden voyage  Dockwise Vanguard delivered the Jack//St. Malo deep-water hull from Samsung Heavy Industries yard in Geoje, South Korea, to Kiewit Offshore Services yard at Ingleside Texas.

Recognizing the experience of their employees, Dockwise hand picked the crew for the Vanguard:

The command and control staff, comprised of Captain Oleg Maryasov, who has built his heavy-lift experience with Dockwise as Master of both the Blue Marlin and Black Marlin. He will be joined on the voyage by Sergey Zatsarin , Chief Officer. Bridge staff were sent to a special trainer (remember, this vessel has an off center bridge.), 

The Engineering staff compromised of Jevgenijs Cernins (Chief Engineer) previously of the Blue Marlin and Mighty Servant 1 and Vladimirs Raiconoks (Second Engineer) previously of the Mighty Servant 1 and Mighty Servant 3, were sent to learn and train with propulsion systems, at Wärtsilä in Italy.

“Our new vessel has the potential to create a new market of its own. The name ‘Dockwise Vanguard’ refers to the forefront of a movement or, in our case, an innovation in the Heavy Marine Transport Industry." André Goedée, CEO Dockwise.

The semi submersible hull for Chevron's Jack/St. Malo deep water Gulf of Mexico project is a four column semi-submersible hull. It measures 344 feet by 344 feet (105 meters x 105 meters); with columns that are 80 feet (24 meters) by 890 feet (271 meters) and stands 229 feet (76 meters) tall. The topside is comprised of three "stage 1" modules (production, compression and power generation) sitting on the deckbox.

At 61,730 tons (56,000 metric tons), the hull is the world's largest to date. But even that weight is hardly a stretch for the Dockwise Vanguard, whose designed capacity is 110,000 tons! Total topsides dry weight is 19,756 short tons, with space provided for additional modules to support future development.

The centerpiece for Kiewit Offshore Services at Ingleside Texas, is the world's largest Heavy Lifting Device (HLD.) The 550-foot tall HLD is located on the La Quinta shipping channel and can be seen on the horizon from anywhere on the shore of Corpus Christi Bay.

While at Kiewit's Ingleside facility, the top most production and housing structures, cranes, helicopter decks and other operating structures will be stacked onto the hull. The HLD  utilizes 23 miles of 2.5-inch cable and is rated to handle 13,000-ton loads. The Jack and St. Malo field are located in the Gulf of Mexico within 25 miles of each other in the Walker Ridge area, about 280 miles south of New Orleans.

The Jack / St. Malo floating production unit will be installed in 7,000 ft (2,100 m) water depths. By comparison, the ill-fated Deepwater Horizon was drilling in 5,000 ft (1,500 meters.)

This animation clearly demonstrates the advantages of this radical vessel design.

Following delivery of the Jack / St. Malo platform to Ingleside, the Dockwise Vanguard left the Gulf of Mexico on May 10, returning to South Korea.


In December 2015, I was given the rare — extremely rare — opportunity to see the Dockwise Vanguard up close. Click link.