Newsletter’s 2019

Ossalink Quarterly Newsletter

July 2019

Aalesund Harbour
The Chairman’s Address
Norway May was a very active period with a highlight for myself being a visit to Ålesund where, together with Peter Barrow, we gave a presentation to a number of ex Farstad people (including our International Patron, Andy Farstad) on the development of OSSA. We received a very enthusiastic response and generated a lot of questions. We were also delighted that Andy Farstad chose that time to announce the he was getting back into Offshore shipping. This drew wonderful response from everyone and since then we have learnt that the “new” Farstad has taken the “Farland” on long term charter. Great news and obviously we wish Andy and his team every success.
Whilst in Ålesund we also visited the Solstad offices and met Arild Egeness (whom a number of OSSA members will know). Subsequent to that visit, Solstad (through Arild (?)) have agreed to give to OSSA ship models of the “Lady Guro” and “Far Saltire” which we are delighted with. “Lady Guro” is in Perth and we are arranging for handover shortly. “Far Saltire” is not so easy and is in Ålesund so we have to arrange for her to be flown out. This will cost about $2,000.00 so we will be seeking the help of members in meeting this cost once we know the exact amount. Hopefully everyone is as excited as I am about obtaining this model!

Exhibition at Docklands Library Planning for the OSSA November exhibition at the Dockland Library is proceeding well. The theme for this exhibition will revolve around Bass Strait Oil & Gas (this year is the 50th anniversary of the first oil), Antarctic and the Royal Australian Navy. We recently had a meeting at the Library to discuss planning at which Esso, Navy and OSSA attended. Everyone came away very excited about the location and what we will be able to showcase. Events coordinator Reg McNee and his team are bringing this all together and it will be terrific. Dates are 6th to 26th November. There will be an Opening night (exact date yet to be determined) so we hope most members

will be able to get there at some stage. We will advise the Opening Night date as soon as determined. Membership Membership growth continues. We now have 80+ members and need more!! Please spread the word as we will have roles for all.

Melbourne Maritime Heritage Network In a further development a separate organisation – Melbourne Maritime Heritage Network – has now been registered. This is a great step forward in the ambition to create a Maritime Precinct for the City of Melbourne. Chaired by Cr. Jackie Watts (Jackie is also an OSSA Board member), MMHN will seek to draw together the many maritime interests into a cohesive force to address the lack of maritime recognition in Melbourne. Networking the many skills throughout the various groups, sharing knowledge and building momentum with an ultimate ambition to have a Maritime Museum located within the docklands area. An inaugural meeting of this group will take place sometime in October and all members will be invited to attend. We will advise the date once decided.

Mission to Seafarers Renovation The Mission to Seafarers is currently undergoing restoration with all the floors in the downstairs area being the first target. This work will take some months, but the OSSA meetings will continue to take place each Thursday at 10:00 in the usual office in the Manse. As always, every member is welcome to attend.

Be Connected I would encourage all members to sign up to the “Be Connected” program dealing with IT knowledge. My wife and I have joined and have found it (much to my surprise!) to be a very informative and simple program. OSSA is benefitting with grants for arranging this and we need to make a target, so we do require your help in joining in. If any questions, please contact Dick Lowry ( who is coordinating this program.

“Farland” – The first vessel of the ’new’ Farstad
Aalesund Visit

Last month Peter Barrow and I were honoured to be able to give a presentation about OSSA to many interested ex Farstad people during our visit to Aalesund.

We were particularly pleased to meet up with so many of our long-time friends and colleagues during this visit and specially to meet up again with Andy Farstad who is the International Patron of OSSA.

The presentation itself was enthusiastically received and there were many questions.

The venue was at Andy Farstad’s office and about 25 people attended. We are sure they all came to hear Peter and myself speak and not because of the Pizza and soft drinks beforehand!

We were able to sow the seed that perhaps a similar activity could be started up in Ålesund and a museum covering the offshore involvement of the Ålesund area could be both of international interest and a selling point for local industry such as ship building, machinery etc.

L to R – Sue Barrow, Kari Ann Farstad, Ross Brewer, Gerda Stavseng, Terje Andersen, Sandra Brewer, Andy Farstad, Peter Barrow, Torstein Stavseng.
We were also fortunate to be there on Norwegian National Day. This began with a sumptuous breakfast with most Norwegians in their wonderful traditional dress which was followed by a wonderful street march which went on for well over an hour.
Most schools and other local organisations participated, and the involvement of parents and children was great to see.
We were invited back for a traditional Norwegian Day lunch of fish soup at Terje Andersen’s house (which he had cooked himself!). It was great to meet up again with wonderful friends and reconfirm the strong bond between us all. (Pictured right in traditional dress is Gerda and Torstein Stavseng)
Model donations from Solstad
The OSSA vessel model collection has now extended to seven since the Solstad donation of the Far Saltire and Lady Guro. The current collection is now:
    • Lady Astri: IOS (UK),P&O Australia, AOS, early Anchor and Platform supply Vessel (on loan from P&O Heritage)
    • Lady Cynthia : AOS/IOS and Farstad AHSV
    • Lady Melinda: IOS/Farstad/Solstad Platform Supply
    • Beacon Tug: P&O Maritime
    • Far Saltire: Farstad/Solstad AHSV
    • Lady Caroline: IOS/Farstad/Solstad AHSV
  • Lady Guro: IOS/Farstad Platform Supply and Multi-Purpose vessel
Heather Berry’s Bio

My name is Heather Berry, and I’m currently studying my Masters of Cultural Materials Conservation at the Grimwade Centre at the University of Melbourne.

This degree teaches students chemistry in order to conserve and preserve objects, arts, or paper. My specific area of interest is objects, which is super broad, so I’ve specialised it down to maritime objects conservation. Essentially, I would like to work in a museum or a similar context, preventing maritime objects whether they be textiles, metals, papers, books, or organic materials like wood, from deteriorating, and helping conserve objects that have deteriorated.

A background to how I got to this course: I did a double major in Psychology and Ancient World Studies at Melbourne Uni in my undergrad and went on to do an honours year in Ancient World Studies but realised this

wouldn’t exactly be a job in and of itself! So, I took a year off, and lived in the Seychelles, diving and doing coral conservation and subsequently getting my dive masters and working at a dive shop.

When I came back to Melbourne, I decided to pursue a Masters, found the cultural conservation course and thought it would be perfect to combine my love of the ocean and diving, and my love of history, since I could become a maritime objects conservator. How I found OSSA is quite a funny story; I work part time at Tiffany & Co in Collins Street, and a lady came in looking for a present to herself to celebrate her one year anniversary of opening her own business; we got chatting and I asked what her business was, she said a law firm, and when I asked what kind of law she practiced she told me about maritime law.

I said I was interested in maritime object conservation, and studying conservation at Uni, to which she responded that she had just joined up with a group called OSSA with an amazing collection of objects, and I should come along to a meeting! We exchanged email addresses, and Alison accompanied me to my first meeting in May.

I’m really excited to come on board with OSSA and to be of any assistance in the care of their amazing collection!

The last issue of OSSALINK contained a photo of a young Deck Cadet and we can now reveal his identity as a man whose formative years were spent with the B & I Company and who is, among many other skills, the very epitome of all things HSEQ; Captain Neil Butt
* * *
This time around we have a photo taken some 55years ago of an ‘elderly gentlemen’(????) He assures us this is his first passport photo and it hasn’t been subjected to any photoshop touch up.

Our first impression was he’d appropriated an old 1950’s Hollywood Studio heartthrob photo, someone who specialised in Mafioso roles or chasing gangsters and bootleggers (a la Elliot Ness minus the Fedora!). Also, there’s a suggestion he may be the ‘5th Beatle’ However, the truth is more mundane, and he actually worked as a marine engineer, in mainly offshore and construction for over 50 years. By the way his ‘Chief’s ticket’ is still valid if anyone is interested! Answer in next issue.

Featured Ship: Flinders Tide
The Flinders Tide Advanced Vessel To Join Fleet of Tidewater Marine Joint Venture
One of the most advanced vessels to go into service for Tidewater Marine Service, Inc.’s Australian joint venture company, Tidewater Port Jackson Marine Pty., Ltd. of Sydney, was nearing completion at Carrington Slipways, Newcastle , New South Wales, when the photo above was taken. The vessel is the Flinders Tide, named in honour of the 18th century explorer Capt. Matthew Flinders, Royal Navy, who discovered and charted large areas of Australia’s coastline, with emphasis on the Bass Strait, where the vessel is expected to operate. “Flinders Tide is designed to provide support for a remote-controlled vehicle (RCY), which is an undersea submersible used to survey and monitor pipelines and underwater construction, and to aid seabed survey work. The vessel also has important secondary functions that include diving and firefighting roles,” according to Ray J. Hope, executive vice president of Tidewater Marine Service, Inc., and J.C. (Bill) Needham, manager of Tidewater Port Jackson Marine Pty. According to Mr. Hope and Mr. Needham, Flinders Tide will be among the most advanced vessels currently engaged in the offshore oil and gas industry and will rank high among the world’s most specialized offshore support equipment.
“The RCV, attached to the vessel by cable, will propel itself along the ocean floor, or pipeline, and will relay pictures by television camera to the mother vessel.
It is equipped with remote controlled arms capable of handling small objects, wire, shackles, or tools, and is remarkably versatile,” they said. The Flinders Tide will be able to keep station on the RCV by operating in the dynamic positioning mode, maintaining position automatically in winds up to 20 knots with associated seas, plus two – knot current, either from the same or different directions. Approximately 51 meters (167 feet) long, the new support vessel will be powered by twin EMD 12 cylinder 645-E6 main engines having a total of 3,000 hp (maximum continuous) at 900 rpm, driving controllable-pitch propellers, and three 600-hp Ulstein transverse thrusters. When in the dynamic positioning mode, the main engines will run at constant speed and control of the main propeller pitch, three transverse thrusters, and twin rudders will be affected by a Honeywell A.S.K. model 3100 computer. The system will be capable of using either a Decca “Transponder” surface network or a Honeywell RS 902 hydro- acoustic subsea beacon position reference system. The RCV will be deployed through a 10-meter-diameter “moon pool,” and when engaged in seabed recovery work, will be used in conjunction with deck winches and a hydraulically operated hinged ” A ” frame stern gantry of 30-ton S.W.L. Two 50-ton, two 10-ton, and two 3-ton hydraulic deck winches will be fitted. The Flinders Tide has accommodations for divers, and when working in this mode the vessel can be moored in a four-point mooring system pioneered by Tidewater Marine.
The vessel’s anchors will utilize the general-purpose winches and windlass. In diving support work, a saturated diving system can be provided on deck, and the bell will be deployed through the moon pool which is capable of aeration for this purpose.
Workshops and RCV control room are provided onboard. A firefighting system capable of delivering 2,400 tons of water per hour will be installed. The two remote-controlled monitors will be fitted atop a special gantry crane at the stern. Each will be powered by a 960-hp diesel pump capable of discharging water a distance of 145 meters to a height of 40 meters (475/131 feet).
The Flinders Tide was expected to go into service in January 1981. This was written by a Dad to his young son; From Mike Large: Flinders Tide was built in NSW Newcastle Carrington slipway in 1981 back in the days when we were still able to build ships in Australia.
It was commissioned by Tidewater Australia for ESSO to their specific purpose request.
Flinders came to work shortly after she was built, and everyone wanted to see this boat that could stay in the same spot in the severe weather of Bass Strait without anyone touching the controls
Now days station keeping vessels are plentiful but for us in Australia back in the 80s this was serious stuff. Flinders Tide had side thrusters front and back as well as conventional propellers, together with all sorts of fancy computers and sat nav. which in the day was a really big deal. All this stuff kept her on station.
So why does a vessel have to stay in the same spot over the seabed, what is the big deal?
Well there are things on the seabed, in an underwater oil field, that do not move. Things like oil pipes and valves and flanges. These things need to be inspected and maintained otherwise they may fail and cause serious environmental problems.
On board Flinders tide was a piece of equipment which could inspect and perform some of this maintenance. This comprised of a small submarine attached to the boat by a cord within which were electrical cables. The submarine was equipped with a camera and a manipulator. These were remotely operated on the vessel.
For many years Flinders Tide patrolled the pipelines of the oil field, however she also did supply work as she carried fuel and water for the hungry oil rigs and platforms.
Seabed recovery was also her speciality and on one occasion she recovered a Navy helicopter which had engine failure and sank, the pilot bailed and was not injured.
Also, Flinders Tide went to Sydney to work extensively on the outfalls project.
I was proud to be an engineer on board this specialised vessel for many years. All good things, however, come to an end and it was a sad day when she was no longer required and sold to American interests. I said goodbye to an old friend that day. I have sailed on many ships, but Flinders was the best.
The Flinders Tide
Progress – Antarctic Division Report on progress being made within our Antarctic Division by Ray McMahon:
“Be connected” is a free program that originated in the UK and has been taken up and supported by the Australian Government. The aim of the program is to provide an easy to use web based educational on the basics of using the internet. It is targeted at people over the age of 50 (which fits in with many of the OSSA members!!). To encourage groups to take up this program the Government has made small grants available and OSSA has successfully applied for the grants. A requirement of the grants (s) is that we need to have a certain number of enrolments and need to demonstrate that we have had several meetings to discuss the program. Therefore we do need members to enrol. This can be done on line via the “Be Connected” website:
Once in the site go to the “Sign in/up” and the following will pop-up:
Then Go to “Create new account”. Once in there you will be asked to register. After your First and Last names it asks for name of support centre. Here you need to click in the space and type Offshore & Specialist Ships Australia. Once this is identified continue with your registration. Then choose a module and away you go. Whilst this sounds very basic you will be amazed at what your learn (that you thought you already knew!).
So please take this up and encourage others to also sign up.
Remember this helps not only yourself but also OSSA and it is FREE!!!
For help and further Information contact our Be-Connected Librarians:
Dick Lowry. Terry Webster.
A Tale of Three Vessels
The Three Woodside Vessels Circa 2000 (at King Bay)

There once were three vessels which were built to service the extensive Woodside Petroleum Oil & Gas assets (Platforms & Rigs) off King Bay, Dampier, WA. The vessels were named Shelf Challenger, Shelf Ranger and Shelf Supporter. The Shelf prefix designates their area of operation – the continental shelf off the WA coast.

Around the time of the Millennium Woodside decided that operating vessels was not really part of their core business and subsequently sold them to IOS the Company formed by the partnership between P&O and Farstad and forerunner to FSIP (Farstad Shipping India Pacific) being created through a buyout of P&O’s interest in Offshore Shipping by Farstad AS the principal company headquartered in Aalesund, Norway in 2003. Subsequent to this the three vessels were bedecked in IOS colours and renamed Lady Christine ( ex-Supporter) Lady Gerda (ex-Challenger) and Lady Margaret (ex-Ranger).

The Lady Christine was retained and chartered by Woodside as a multi-purpose vessel for many years.

The other two were for some time seconded to Vietnam where they were chartered to JVPC (Japanese/Vietnamese Petroleum Company) along with another venerable IOS ship the Lady Cynthia.

They all became part of the FSIP family and worked for many years in the oilfields in SE Asia and Australia.

Eventually they were all sold – the Margaret went to work in west Africa initially for Farstad then other interests there. The Gerda was sold and reflagged in India working out of Mumbai. She is still afloat, but not in good condition as evidenced by a recent photo. The Christine is Malaysian flagged and is incredibly still working in the North Sea oilfields running out of Aberdeen.

Two of the Woodside vessels plus the Lady Cynthia in IOS livery circa 2002 (at Vung Tau, Vietnam)

The Lady Christine in Farstad Livery Circa 2008 (at King Bay, Dampier)

Melbourne Maritime Heritage NetworkUpdate
I am sure you will all be interested in the update on the Melbourne Maritime Heritage Network. As you will read there has been substantial activity which is really pleasing. OSSA has been and will continue to be both STRONGLY involved and supportive of the ambitions of MMHN. There are currently a number of projects under discussion that will all help to build the groundswell towards ultimately creating a Melbourne Maritime Precinct with a MARITIME Museum.
Ross Brewer
Where Are They Now: 1st Quarter 2002
Editor’s Postscript: I have only seen proofs of the final draft of this Newsletter as it is presently in the hands of the wonderful Filiz Kingsley (of Blue Anchor News fame) who has so kindly agreed to take over the layout and design portfolio. However, I can assure all it is a vast improvement on our first two efforts. As usual a great debt of gratitude to Peter Barrow for his unfailing assistance in putting this edition together and Dick Lowry for helping to get it out to the largest possible group of recipients. I hope there is something of interest for all in the content.
Any comments to the Editor are welcome using the address.