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  • Writer's pictureSarah Whiteford

SpaceX converts rigs for rockets, Allseas mining, largest VLEC maiden voyage, rotor sails

It’s Good News Monday!

This Monday we talk about:

  1. SpaceX Converts Two Ultradeepwater Rigs Into Rocket Launch Pads

  2. Allseas' Subsea Mining Ship Project is Moving Forward

  3. World’s Largest VLEC Departs Texas with Record Shipment to China

  4. Solstad Offshore Vessel Trio Gets Renewables, Subsea Deals

  5. First Tilting Rotor Sails Installed on SC Connector

  6. Funding Approved for Fourth NSMV Training Vessel Assigned to Texas

Deepwater oil rig on the ocean

Former Valaris drilling platform. Image Credit: The Maritime Executive.

SpaceX bought two oil rigs from Valaris with plans to turn them into rocket launch pads. The at-sea launch has been used in the past by Ukraine and currently by China. “Orbital launch trajectories are heavily affected by location, and a sea-based launch site allows the operator to optimize the rocket's payload capacity and reduce cost for the mission.” The two rigs have been renamed after the two Mars Moons, Deimos and Phobos. SpaceX has job openings for people who can design and build an offshore launch facility and can work in Brownsville, Texas.

Allseas vessel

Allseas vessel. Image Credit: Offshore Engineer.

Seatools was awarded the contract for delivery of a total control system for Allseas’ deep-sea mining nodule collector. There has been increased interest in polymetallic nodule deposits on the seafloor recently as metals like copper, nickel, cobalt, and magnesium have become more scarce on land. Due to technological constraints, subsea mining is not yet done on a commercial scale. Allseas purchased an ultra-deepwater drillship to convert into a subsea mining vessel last year. The vehicle would crawl the sea floor, retrieving minerals and bringing them back to the surface.

Seri Everest VLEC

Seri Everest. Image Credit: The Maritime Executive.

Seri Everst, the world’s largest VLEC, has departed Texas, heading to China with the largest shipment of ethane. This material, stripped from natural gas, is in high demand by the petrochemical industry in Asia. This will be the vessel’s maiden voyage, “destined for Satellite Petrochemical’s Lianyungang ethane cracker in northeastern Jiangsu Province, China. Its anticipated arrival at Lianyungang Port is mid-February 2021.” Orbit Gulf Coast NGL Exports’ terminal in Nederland, Texas, is one of three ethane terminals in the United States.

Solstad Offshore Vessel

Solstad Offshore vessel. Image Credit: Offshore Engineer.

Solstad secured four new contracts in renewables and subsea. Normand Energy will be supporting a client in the Pacific Ocean for 5 months starting in February 2021. Far Samson has a 90 day contract for cable lay operations with an option to extend for the rest of 2021, starting in April or May. Normand Jarstein will be performing subsea operations in West Africa in January for 2-3 months. Normand Jarstein has a second contract for 2 months with a UK-based oil company to start in May.

Ship with tilting rotor sails going under a bridge

Tilting rotor sails. Image Credit: gCaptain.

The SEA-CARGO roll-on/roll-off carrier SC Connector has now been equipped with the world’s first set of tilting rotor sails, courtesy of Norsepower. The rotor sails are 35 meters tall and reduce fuel consumption and emissions. In good wind conditions, the rotors will power the vessel completely at service speed. The ability to tilt the rotors almost 90 degrees allows for more clearance under bridges and power lines. The spinning cylinder of the rotor sails use the Magnus Effect to generate power. This is the fifth installation for Norsepower, with another installation scheduled for a newbuild bulk carrier.

Render of new training vessel

Rendering of the new class of training vessels. Image Credit: The Maritime Executive.

“The United States Congress approved $390 million in funding for the fourth National Security Multi-Mission Vessel (NSMV), which will be assigned to the Texas A&M Maritime Academy in Galveston, Texas.” This is a new class of ships being developed with the U.S. Department of Transportation’s Maritime Administration (MARAD) and private industry. They’ll be used in training of the U.S. Merchant Marine and for response to natural disasters and humanitarian needs. The Gulf Coast only has one state maritime academy, providing economic assistance and response in the most hurricane prone area of the United States. Since most vessels used for training are old, retired ships, these new ships will provide an updated area in which to train. The steel was cut at the Philly Shipyard for the first of five ships.

Smile, it’s Good News Monday! :-)


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