Cianbro crews are preparing for a job that will be visible to thousands of Mainers who look out to sea in the Rockland area. On or about June 17th, the 750 foot drilling vessel Stena Forth will appear on the horizon, approximately a mile and a half off the Rockland breakwater. For about one week, Cianbro team members will be working around the clock to remove and reinstall three of the giant drillship's six propulsion thrusters. Once the new thrusters are in place, the ship will perform sea trials in the vicinity of the Rockland anchorage before returning to the open ocean to continue its global mission of offshore drilling.
The Stena Forth is the newest of Stena's seven drilling units, and was completed and delivered in August of 2009. "We're happy to be here in Maine for this maintenance stop, and we look forward to working with Cianbro and the local population," said Forth Logistics Coordinator Roy Inglis.
The thrusters on the drillship are located both forward and aft and provide the propulsion to move the ship to any offshore drilling location in the world. This vessel utilizes dynamic positioning technology where the propulsion units are synchronized with the ships GPS system to anchor the vessel's position during drilling operations. The thrusters are able to rotate 360 degrees, and can thrust against each other to hold the ship stationary. Cianbro crews will remove the three existing forward thrusters and replace them with three new thrusters. The new propulsion units are manufactured by Rolls Royce. They are scheduled to arrive in Portland harbor on the 15th and will be transported to Rockland by June 17. Five days of intensive work will follow, with Cianbro team members unbolting the old thrusters from within the ship and lowering them into the water. Divers will monitor the work while a Cianbro crane aboard a flexi-float barge hoists the thrusters onto the barge. The process will be reversed as the new thrusters are rigged back into the ship. The job is scheduled to be completed well before the end of the month.
Cianbro leaders see the job as a step toward additional work in the industry. "Every project has the opportunity to lead to more work," said Cianbro Corporation President Andi Vigue, "and this is an opportunity that is important to us because anybody in this industry has small and large capital projects and you've got to be successful to be considered in the future. So, we're taking this project very seriously, and are very optimistic that it could lead to future work."
"This is a further opportunity for Cianbro to highlight our Marine Expertise and our ability to support Marine clients and their critical schedule requirements," according to Senior Project Engineer Bill Follett. "Our ability to assemble an experienced crew and the equipment required to complete the job demonstrates our ability to compete and be successful in the marine market. We appreciate Stena's confidence in our abilities and their willingness to partner with us to meet their needs."
Crews have been mobilizing for the job for the past week. When work begins in earnest around June 18th, the United States Coast Guard will set up a security perimeter around the Stena Forth. "The zone will encompass a circle around the ship, 100 yards in radius, and will help to protect divers and other personnel and equipment at the jobsite," said Cianbro Project Manager Brian Rancourt. "During the project's planning stage, Cianbro coordinated efforts with the U.S. Coast Guard, Maine Department of Environmental Protection, and the Department of Marine Resources. The goals were to create a safe environment for the local population, Stena's vessel, and the construction crews, and to ensure compliance with local rules and regulations."