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Smiths Shiprepairers
North Shields.1991

· Registered
2,840 Posts
i was steel supervisor on her at the time and she was cut and lengthened / widened by fitting sponsons pt&st fitted a bulbous bow with 2 thrustersfwd /& one aft and lifted crane of for overhaul. last i heard of her she had been renamed NORLIFT. The mate who was on her at the time is now captain on the DISCOVERY for stolt offshore. cheers tom :}

· Registered
35 Posts
Vessel was purchased around June 1990 by Cable and Wireless Marine. I was appointed as part of the team to convert the vessel when she was in Tilbury. She was then the Hiryu. She was built in Singapore by Far East Levingston Limited (FELS) in 1978 ( I believe) as the Northern Installer for Norther Offhore Limited.
After three months in Tilbury she sailed for the Tyne arriving on 15th Sept 90 to carry out the first stage of what was to be a major conversion. The main parts of the conversion was to lengthen her by 20m, The bow section housing two diesel driven thrusters was removed. This was replaced with a whole new section housing 3 x 1100KW electric drive thrusters. 3m wide sponsons were attached each side. At the stern two azimuth rooms were constructed each hosusing an electric drive azimuth thruster. Cannot remember the size off hand. Within the new section two machinery spaces were built each containing 3 x 16 cylinder Detriot Diesels, the largest in their range, plus the auxiliary machinery associated with them. Extensive upgrade to the dive system and extensive repairs to the 300Te crane. The DP was renewed to bring it up to a DP3 Notation.
The whole project was series of hurdles and you never knew what disaster would turn up when you started opening up tanks for steelwork mods. About 80% of the foredeck steelwork needed replacement after spending five years laid up in Japan. With the rain soaked mooring lines being flaked across the deck causing severe piiting. I finally left the Tyne 28th Feb 1992 after claring out our site office and getting the girlfriends gear into the car. I went up the Tyne with a suitcase and came back 17 months later with effectively a wife!
I must admit it was a huge learning curve for me having worked closely with naval architects, ship designers and the A&P Workforce. The ship managers, foreman and "lads" did a marvelous job. Ship repair and conversion on this scale is one huge challenge. I could not say the same for the Yard Senior Management! Dealing with them was hard work.
Being at sea I have met various engineers and ETOs (you may know them as "sparks" that sailed on her. They all said that the vessel worked well. She may well be working still but she was anything but pretty. The accommodation can only be described as "poor" being very cramped. Part of the project was to tidy it up but she was built with bulkhead linings containing asbestos and any dealings with that is expensive.
Tom, we must have worked together during this time. Jim Lively the ABS Surveyor you may recall. I gained huge amounts of knowledge from Jim. I now live in Earsdon having returned in 1997 when the grandbairn was born. I returned to sea after the Norlift project and am Chief Engineer. About 18 months ago I ended up in Hebburn for repairs on a ship and bumped into many of the lads from North Shields. I got chatting to Alan, cannot recall his surname, a shipwright from the project. I gave him a disc of various scanned photos from the project. I wish now I had held onto more of them as most went back to our office with the project do***entation.
Maybe this will bring back some memories. Best regards
George Rollinson

· Premium Member
529 Posts
I put her on here as"Kestrel" with a "new" 2nd hand crane on her.Worked on her as Camp Boss with Stolt and Caldive for a number of years. It may "please" you to know that the accommodation is still the same.except for the TV room topsside which was converted into Dive Supervisors and Camp Boss cabins.Nothing else was done to the accommodation. Still the asbestos

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