Tuesday, December 14, 2010

Back Under Canadian Flag

1. Mariner Sea arriving at dusk December 12.

2. Deck lights are on, but shielded from a forward view.

Mariner Sea arrived on Sunday, with the port of Bridgetown (Barbados) on her stern. Bright and early Monday morning she hoisted the Canadian flag again, with her port of registry as Quebec City. And yes, as you might have guessed, there is a story behind that.

She was built back in 1979 by Georg Eides Sonner A/S of Hoylunsbygd, Norway, as a deck cargo/ dive support vessel, with moon pool. Named Sulair, she was owned by BP Development Ltd before being sold and renamed TNT Puma in 1989. In 1990 she became Toisa Puma.

In 1995, with the wordwide craze for fibreoptic cable networks, she was sold to Tyco who converted her to a full scale cable ship named Coastal Connector. The work involved a complete packaged cable operation on her cargo deck, and increased her gross tonnage from 1939 (as built) to 4480. Tyco's timing was off and with the dot com bubble bursting and Tyco in trouble the ship was put up for sale.

Secunda Marine [since 2007 McDermott] purchased the ship late in 2002 while it was lying at Caracas, Venezuela, and it arrived in Halifax January 17, 2003 flying the Marshal Islands flag as Mariner Sea. They sent the ship to Verreault shipyard in M├ęchins for conversion back to a supplier. It was fitted with tanks for 1200 cu.m rig fuel 1200 cu.m drill water, 800 cu.m drilling mud, while retaining 860 sq.m of deck cargo space. Dynamic positioning was also fitted, using three thrusters forward and one aft. The newly refitted ship returned to Halifax May 15, 2003, with the new port of registry of Quebec City (assigned May 14.) Tonnage was now 2904 gross, 4450 deadweight.

Mariner Sea was fixed on charter to Encana, and until earlier this year had been supporting the Deep Panuke project, but was chartered out this fall and adopted the Barbados flag.

On Sunday the ship tied up at pier 9 to be fitted with cable laying gear. This will not be as comprehensive as in her previous incarnation, but will be a relatively small portable package, with a demountable stern sheave for passing the cable.

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