OK, I have now read this in more details.
Although the posts are 5-6 years old I don't think the problem of foreign boat working in the GoM has been diminished, or that c.captain has become less enraged by the fact that they are there, stealing jobs from qualified American Mariners.
It raises some questions though:
- How many US built and flagged rig/drillships are there that is capable of drilling in over 1,000 m. of water?
- How many US built and flagged boats are there that can perform sub-sea construction, IMR, well intervention etc. in over 1,000 m. of water?
- How many US built and flagged vessels of any kind are there that can lay pipe, cables or umbilicals in over 1,000 m. of water?
- How many US built and flagged Crane vessels are there that is capable of lifting over 3,000 m.t. anywhere offshore?
- How many US built and flagged Seismic vessels are there that can tow more than 8 streamers, or perform 4D seismic?
- How many US flagged Semi-submersible Heavy Lift Vessels able to transport Spars or do Float-over are there?
- How many US flagged FPSOs are in operation anywhere in the world, incl. the GoM?
Please fill in the answers to the above.
I could go on, but that should suffice to prove my next point:
If all the foreign vessels now working in the GoM where withdrawn, either because they were banned, or because the Owners and Charterers found more lucrative work elsewhere, how long would it take to replace them with new US built vessels capable of performing the samme work?
In stead of bitching about the foreign boats you (as in USA)should concentrate on gaining the skill to build and operate the type of vessels and equipment needed to explore and produce oil and gas in deep water. Deep water activity may slow down world wide, but it is NOT going to go away.
How does the big ship market under the Jones Act handle it? They adapts foreign designs and use foreign machinery and equipment to stay, if not competitive with foreign yards on price, at least reasonable up dated on technology: http://www.motorship.com/news101/ships-and-shipyards/jones-act-aframax-gives-new-dimension-to-us-shipbuilding
Yes, it is starting to happen in the OSV market as well, but it will take years to catch up and be ready when the market turn, eventually.
This is actually the time to modernize the yards and the fleet, when cost is depressed because of low oil prices. The developers of technology, machinery and equipment is looking for ANY business and would be happy to shear their "secrets" to be able to keep active in lean times.
How come those foreigners managed to leapfrog the US on offshore technology and construction in the first place?
Because they learnt from the Americans who developed the basics back in the 1950s and 1960s. Many of them didn't have much in the form of "book learning" (I know, I worked with many of them in the 1970s) They also didn't have any inhibitions and didn't believe those who said "it can't be done".
In the early 1970s US rig builders came to Singapore and set up shop, building rigs to drawings they brought with them, equipping them with machinery imported from the US. They also brought in specialized workers like "derrick builders" from Oklahoma and others.
It didn't take long before local yards started to build rigs as well and today all Jackups and semies are built here by local yard, many for the US market.
In the case of Norway, ODECO ordered a rig to be built at Aker Shipyard in the middle of Oslo. The design was typical ODECO, with four hulls, a lot of columns and a very light deck. All drawings and equipment came from the US, but it got the Engineers at Aker thinking and they designed the Aker H3, which became the "gold standard" for what then passed as "harsh weather rigs". (Many of them still drilling. Maybe even in the GoM?)
For the OSVs the story was much the same. Tidewater wanted to get into the big boat market in the North Sea and ordered three AHTS at Ulstein Shipyard. Not exactly typical GoM "mud boats" of the time. Here is one of them: http://maritime-connector.com/ship/giant-tide-7368724/print/
Ulstein used to build Fishing vessels, incl. Factory Trawlers for operation in the Atlantic, Greenland and the Barents Sea and knew a thing or two about building boat that could handle rough weather and rough handling of gear. They made their own designed, the UT 704, which has been called the basis for ALL future OSVs. The designer was honoured with a "Lifetime Achievement Award" at 75 last year (still working): http://www.motorship.com/news101/comment-and-analysis/sigmund-borgundvaag-four-decades-of-designing-the-future
In the meantime US yards kept on building the same type of rigs with the same drilling equipment for years, until they could no longer compete on the international market.
The same applied to the OSVs. some 10-12 years ago I came on a US flag, US built AHTS for an inspection of some sort.
As I stepped into the "Gally" I asked the Captain; Halter Marine built is it?? The layout was exactly the same as the boats I had worked on in 1970, which was built as early as 1963(at least one of them) and worked with in the 1970s.
Isn't it time to DO SOMETHING WITH THAT???