Hitachi Zosen To Build Giant Submersible Barge

Hitachi Zosen recently received an order from Canmar/Reading & Bates Limited Partnership, a joint venture of Canadian Marine Drilling Ltd., Canada, and Reading & Bates Drilling Company (USA), to build the world's biggest submersible barge for the development of offshore oilfields in the Beaufort Sea.

The giant barge is a steel structure designed to sit directly on the seafloor and support the Single Steel Drilling Caisson (SSDC), which is an offshore drilling vessel now in operation in the Canadian Beaufort Sea, and is called the "steel mat base." The barge is 168 meters long, 110 meters wide, 13.5 meters high and has a deck area on top of 9,720 square meters. The weight of the steel to be used is approximately 34,800 tons, and it has two aft towers for mating with the SSDC and one forward control room tower. It can be towed to a designated area with the SSDC on deck, and then can sink and float horizontally by gravity feed ballasting system with the SSDC on top, which enables the SSDC to begin operations safely and promptly.

The SSDC was converted from a VLCC to an offshore drilling vessel at Hitachi Zosen's Osaka Works, Sakai, in 1981-82.

The barge will be constructed at the Osaka Works and Ariake Works with an expected delivery date of June 1986.

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