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Hello, I’m a new member with a couple of questions.
Anybody remember:
1) In what year did McDermott move the (former NOL) semi-sub NARWAL (later DB101) from North Sea to Bombay High to work throughout the summer (Southwest Monsoon season in Arabian Sea) for ONGC? The thinking was NARWAL would work throughout the monsoon season (15 May to 15 Sept each year, approximately) while all mono hull DBs could not work. The India work was performed by McDermott Dubai and managed by Cliff Bell, a division engineer who transferred to Dubai from Brussels a year or so earlier.
2). Tug ALPHONSE LETZER? Does anybody recall when she mobilized was from Antwerp to Middle East? If so, was she towing NARWAL, i.e. part of the spread mobilized for the same ONGC work referred to “1” above?

I’d appreciate any relevant information. Thanks.
 

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Hello - New member, ex Marine Engineer, and some time with the above outfit.
Anybody know of any links to photographs, particularly JB4
LB27, or DB15 while they were working offshore.
Thanks.
Hello.I was night shift surveyor LB27 off Kinsale May 1977.Stayed on her to The Leman Field andthen
Hello - New member, ex Marine Engineer, and some time with the above outfit.
Anybody know of any links to photographs, particularly JB4
LB27, or DB15 while they were working offshore.
Thanks.
Laybarge 27 off Cork June1977 I was night shift surveyor.
681971
 

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Hi, I used to work on LB27, JB 004, DB100, and DB101 between 79 - 81 in the Diving Division.
Can anyone remember any of these Dive Techs... Tom Henson, Keith Greenwood, Dave Barrington, Mick Cooper, Clive Burley, Dave Smith (me), Pete Smith, Dick and Andy Scott, Steve Jones, Chris Coombes. John Towle, Dave Millis.
Diving Personnel.. Denny Schwartz, Brian Crawford, Al Reed.
Not forgetting Captain Diamond Jim!
2nd Engineer George Gugala.
Medic Hector Jackson.
Crew changing out of Peterhead on the 'Sterling Rock'.
Love to hear from anyone who remembers these people.
 

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Dive Tech,
George "Googie" Gugala now there's a name from the past, a Kuwait Shipping Co legend. Does anybody know where he is now?
 

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Discussion Starter · #66 ·
Hi,
I started this post - having done the 79 season with the diving division based out of Antwerp, recruited out of McDermott's office in Yarmouth.
Great memories of the Belgian base and the crack, particularly the mission up the road - and then the tail end of the season out on the JB4 working with
the LB27.
I was recruited along with a bunch of lads from Northern Divers - though my background was marine engineering - albeit very limited.
I have searched for photos of the the JB4 - to no avail, though my time was before the move to Holland and the introduction of the larger barges.
A great way to get into the industry - though I ended up ON the exploration side - and lasted until the late 80's and the first of many downturns.
H
 

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Hi,
I started this post - having done the 79 season with the diving division based out of Antwerp, recruited out of McDermott's office in Yarmouth.
Great memories of the Belgian base and the crack, particularly the mission up the road - and then the tail end of the season out on the JB4 working with
the LB27.
I was recruited along with a bunch of lads from Northern Divers - though my background was marine engineering - albeit very limited.
I have searched for photos of the the JB4 - to no avail, though my time was before the move to Holland and the introduction of the larger barges.
A great way to get into the industry - though I ended up ON the exploration side - and lasted until the late 80's and the first of many downturns.
H
Hi,
Like you I was recruited at McDermott House in Great Yarmouth, Feb 1979. I did my first rota in the yard at Antwerp, then onto the good old LB27, several trips later I went onto the JB4.
Do you remember Dave Steele?
Had many a good night out at the kirkship up the road. Rolly was the landlord and his wife served behind the bar. Surely we must know each other..
D
 

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Discussion Starter · #68 ·
Hi D,
Memory is sadly fading - though my "Third Country National Contract" is dated April 79. I did several hitches at the Antwerp base and then about 3 on the JB4, bringing her back into
Antwerp at the end of the season. It was a bit of a nightmare as we had to re-trench some of Chevrons pipeline and then one of the catering section sadly caught TB - so the pay off
was delayed while we were all tested - though most seasonal crew were glad to remain on pay a bit longer. I left almost immediately to go to college - though McDermott did pay me my contract completion bonus - which was gratefully received.
I don't remember Dave Steele - though I have vague memories of the UK foremen at the base, and of course Karl - the ex US diver who was running the show at the time.
It was a good group of lads - and a good section - plus I'll never forget the look on the female bank clerks faces - as I presented my dollar cheques each month !
H.
 

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Hi D,
Memory is sadly fading - though my "Third Country National Contract" is dated April 79. I did several hitches at the Antwerp base and then about 3 on the JB4, bringing her back into
Antwerp at the end of the season. It was a bit of a nightmare as we had to re-trench some of Chevrons pipeline and then one of the catering section sadly caught TB - so the pay off
was delayed while we were all tested - though most seasonal crew were glad to remain on pay a bit longer. I left almost immediately to go to college - though McDermott did pay me my contract completion bonus - which was gratefully received.
I don't remember Dave Steele - though I have vague memories of the UK foremen at the base, and of course Karl - the ex US diver who was running the show at the time.
It was a good group of lads - and a good section - plus I'll never forget the look on the female bank clerks faces - as I presented my dollar cheques each month !
H.
Hello H,
They were happy days, long before the HSE buggered everything up!
Loads of funny stories, like one of the divers smuggling a suit case full of spirits onboard the LB27. He'd put his case onto the supply boat, then went and had his other bag checked at customs. Another diver heard of this and did the same, except when he came out of customs, the supply boat was on the horizon. He'd put it on the 'Stirling Sword' and not the 'Sterling Rock'...
Another time when the dope station caught fire on the 27. All the dive techs were laughing and Diamond Jim threatening to run us all off..
Were you onboard when the pin that holds the stinger to the barge snapped clean in half?
I remember Karl, he interviewed me at Yarmouth. We used to take our orders in the yard from Alan Hartt, or as we used to call him, two tee's.
Regards,
D
 

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Discussion Starter · #70 ·
Hello D,
I think I was at the Antwerp base when the Stinger headed south - I seem to remember the panic mobilisation of a spare or recovery gear.
So many memories of the JB4 working offshore - the BOC base at Peterhead, basket transfers onto to the barge, and in particular the Mcdermott characters recruited out of New Orleans.
I will also never forget the almost continuous high stakes card school - and the almost constant raffles for Rolex watches !
The divers themselves were a good bunch - tho' it was pretty cut throat to get into Saturation - given the massive difference in pay rates.
Without telling tales it was a nightmare keeping the smokers club out of the Hot Water Machine container - though I did have the occasional home brew from the deck crew.
Whilst the money was good, everybody had stories about other companies rates - Brown and Root, Santa Fe etc, and I was constantly told I'd missed the boat.
I finally ended up on exploration rigs - and jacked when airfares were replaced with rail warrants - and the free BUPA lark ended.
The lack of any sort of H&S regime - definitely helped build the North Sea - but a mark of those times.
Cheers - H.
 

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Hello D,
I think I was at the Antwerp base when the Stinger headed south - I seem to remember the panic mobilisation of a spare or recovery gear.
So many memories of the JB4 working offshore - the BOC base at Peterhead, basket transfers onto to the barge, and in particular the Mcdermott characters recruited out of New Orleans.
I will also never forget the almost continuous high stakes card school - and the almost constant raffles for Rolex watches !
The divers themselves were a good bunch - tho' it was pretty cut throat to get into Saturation - given the massive difference in pay rates.
Without telling tales it was a nightmare keeping the smokers club out of the Hot Water Machine container - though I did have the occasional home brew from the deck crew.
Whilst the money was good, everybody had stories about other companies rates - Brown and Root, Santa Fe etc, and I was constantly told I'd missed the boat.
I finally ended up on exploration rigs - and jacked when airfares were replaced with rail warrants - and the free BUPA lark ended.
The lack of any sort of H&S regime - definitely helped build the North Sea - but a mark of those times.
Cheers - H.
Hello H,
I remember those raffles, entered a few but never won a Rolex although I did win a nice watch once for a $10 ticket. The medic, Hector Jackson talked me into buying the last ticket so they could draw the raffle. He was as mad as hell when I won the prize!!
Also remember the high stake card games. I saw a diver loose his whole months pay.
Some of the divers I remember are Terry Denison, Clancy smith, and Bruce Bowie. I don't know if these manes mean anything to you. The were a good bunch of characters.
I could go on forever, I really enjoyed that work. I started out at 22 years of age for McDermotts, then moved on three years later for sunnier climates and bigger bucks, but will always have fond memories of those early days.
D
 

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I worked with LB 27, 28, 29, DB 15, 16, 22 and JB 3, towing them in the northern North Sea and to/from Antwerp (with a Seaspan Tug!) in the 70's. Would you believe I've got plenty pics of thetugs, but very few of the barges!

Norman
Hi Norman... did you by any chance worked in Nigeria warri with Bill in DB15 , DB15 later left for Angola in 1980
 

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Discussion Starter · #80 ·
Massive culture shock first boarding one of their barges in Antwerp - going down into the accommodation, but the diving modules were pretty tidy if my memory serves me correctly.
The fortnightly cheques definitely helped.
The stern photo of the Jet 4 - brings back memories of the the bell runs and driving the handling system from the adjacent control.
Happy Days - Well Mostly !
 
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