During the trip Off-shore at Yetagun, we received a request to head to the FSO (Floating Storage Offloading) to do some minor work. That was all well for me since I was already there, I might as well jump on the chance to visit another oil and gas facility.
the FSO, and the transfer boat
FSO is usually a retired super tanker converted to become an engine less vessel used solely for storing hydrocarbon produced by a nearby oil or gas platform. In this case, gas condensate is stored from the Yetagun gas platform, transferred by an underwater pipeline. The FSO is securely positioned with 9 anchors.
the transfer basket
A transfer boat (also served as an emergency escape vessel) goes between the FSO and the gas platform, and that would be our mode of transport between the two facilities. The interesting bit was the way you get to and from the smaller transfer boat to the bigger platform and FSO.
Instead of a nice bridge or walk way, a transfer basket is used. This is basically just a round basket with nettings on 4 sides where you place any cargo in the middle, and just stand outside holding the nettings while being swung around by the crane operator from the height of the platform all the way to the sea level. It was a rather thrilling experience for a first timer, considering the top deck of platform A where we took off was at least 10-15 stories higher than sea level. This was better than roller coaster.
transfer basket swung around by the crane
the nice chap who helped us and ensured our safety
FSO is equipped with a heli-deck as well
We used the same method to get on board the FSO and greeted by the very friendly Captain James.. This retired vessel is huge, some 200 meters long. Inside the living area is a maze of walkways with offices, kitchen, dining areas, dormitories, etc. Although physically bigger, it probably has less recreational areas for the working crews as compared to the more modern gas platform. Everything was pretty crammed as well, but the rooms were slightly bigger and more comfortable though.
Even with the tanker this size and a relatively calm sea, you can feel the gentle rocking of the ship and it can be quite uncomfortable if you’re not used to it.
the nine anchors
view from the front of the super tanker
the body is some 200 meters long
We got a permit to snapped a few pictures on the facility before heading back after a few hours of work, experiencing the thrill of using the transfer basket a couple more times.
our host, Captain James