Cape Town is a regular stopover port for vessels shuttling between the offshore oilfields of Africa and Asia.
So the appointment to handle the passage of two tugs towing the floating production storage and offloading vessel (FPSO) Berge Helene from Mauritania to Indonesia was nothing unusual for GAC South Africa.
Appointed by BW Offshore Limited, a provider of floating production services, the GAC team was facing the usual tight deadlines as they waited for the convoy to arrive for refuelling, spares, provisions and crew changes. Then, the weather changed!
Several big cold fronts battered Cape Town and forced the tugs to shelter near St Helena Bay, 12 hours’ sail away.
After the fronts passed, GAC needed to get the operation back on schedule. It did so by chartering a local tug to help stabilise Berge Helene while the tow tugs took turns to resupply in Cape Town. Immigration and customs clearances were arranged for 37 crew. Some disembarked by helicopter from St Helena Bay, others once the tugs and vessel reached port.
Lars Mølborg, BW Offshore’s Technical & Maintenance Manager for FPSO Berge Helene, commented:
“Upon reaching the Cape of Good Hope, the convoy faced adverse sea and weather conditions that required timely expertise to be able to navigate safely for the vessel, tow tugs and crews. Working with GAC ensured their safe transit with minimal delay.”
GAC South Africa covers all major South African ports from its offices in Cape Town, Saldanha Bay, Durban, Richards Bay and Port Elizabeth.