The capsizing and sinking of eight offshore supply vessels in the Gulf of Mexico between 1956 and 1963


Had a good friend late '70s early '80s had a stand-by, utility boat company. With the deep water drilling starting, he built some stand-by boats based on the North Sea fishing vessels. They were 85 ft with the house aft. They were built for crew comfort. The boats had the first series of RO water makers. They had emergency rescue equipment and pollution control gear. When the crunch hit in the early '80s, they dropped the requirement for stand-by boats as the drilling rigs adopted lifeboats.


I only remember having fishing boats as guards, aka chase boats. Even once we used a fishing boat as a seismic boat: kj


Several Norwegian Factory Trawlers were converted for seismic work, mainly for GECO. (Some German boats as well)

The seismic vessels built in Norway in the 1980-90’s were very much based on the same design as the trawlers, until the Ramforms came into being.

A far cry from the earlier seismic boat, converted from US mud boat, or anything else they could lay their hands on.

In the early 1970’s one Seismic company bought a little landing platform (30 x 15 ft.) that had been used with passenger ships in Singapore and converted it for seismic work in VERY shallow water.

One end was shaped into a bow of sort and two small Harbourmaster deck mounted propulsion units at the other end., with the streamer winch between them.
A deck house was built to house the instruments, the Party Chief’s room and bunks for a couple of technicians + the galley. The rest of the crew of 6-7 were Indonesians and slept under a sun awning on top of the house.

This contraption sailed from Singapore to the easternmost part of Indonesia and operated along the coast and in the deltas on the south coast of what was then West Irian (Now Papua) Province.

I was Mate and later Captain on a ship that traded from Singapore to East Indonesia at the time. We regularly brought supply for them, (incl. explosive charges) They would came alongside in Sorong to receive it directly onto what little deck space was available. (Possible in those days)
When I asked how they could operate on such a primitive vessel the Party Chief explained that they took turn to do the cooking and chores and everybody had to pitch in, regardless of their position.
“Who is the Captain then”??
“We also take turns to be Captain as well”.


I do not wax nostalgic over Beth rigs. Nothing will test your mettle (and ruin coveralls) worse than a Special Survey on one of them in the summer. . . .there are still a few out there, but most are stacked and awaiting breaking. I do get a claim on them every once and a while, certainly not as many as before. . . .


Neither do I.They were built to the “just barely” concept, a least as far as Marine Operations were concerned.
I have had some “interesting” experiences on the Beth rigs over the years.


Don’t forget the LeTourneau rigs…


As have I, both as a Class Surveyor and as an adjuster. . . .


I have never really minded the LeTourneau rigs. Not to say that the leg to can connections can be prone to cracking and often have to be monitored. . . and there is truly nothing like an internal examination of a spud can. They can have issues come hurricane time, too. I don’t believe that the ROWAN FORT WORTH hull was ever found after Rita. . . another broke off its legs during Ike, too. . . but I can’t comment on that one. I have always had a soft spot for those overbuilt electric cranes. . . .


There were a few incidents with LeTourneau rigs over the years as well, but generally they were “built like a brick shithouse” and did not have much problems if handled reasonably right.
Can/leg connection problems were usually from rough or stupid handling during moving/preloading
Other leg problems were from the fact that we did not understand the RPD problem in the early days. (Not so much on LT rigs as the rigs with HT steel legs)

The early LT rigs that had one jacking motor below deck was a different story.
In the mid-1970’s I used to attend rig moves on the Chris Seagar (ex Mr. Cap, LT’s building #3) which had that arrangement. (Originally with the helipad on top of bow leg, as seen here):

Mr.Cap 2.cap (9.3 KB)
(An interesting tug as well)

Originally also with large spud cans with concave bottom and no preload tanks.

One of my “pet rigs”’ in those early day. Newer a dull rig move.


built like a brick shithouse

  1. mod. pertaining to a very strong and well-built person. (Usually refers to a male. Refers to the sturdiness of an outhouse [outdoor toilet] built of brick rather than the traditional wooden outhouse. Usually objectionable.) Chuck is built like a brick shithouse. The only fat on him is where his brain ought to be.
  2. mod. pertaining to a beautiful and curvaceous woman. (Refers to the imagined curving and uneven walls of an outhouse built hastily and carelessly of brick. This sense is a misinterpretation of the first sense. Usually objectionable.) Look at that dame! She’s really built like a brick shithouse.
    See also: brick, built, like, shithouse
    McGraw-Hill’s Dictionary of American Slang and Colloquial Expressions Copyright © 2006 by The McGraw-Hill Companies, Inc. All rights reserved.

UK similar:

built like a brick shithouse BRITISH, INFORMAL, VERY RUDE
If you say that someone is built like a brick shithouse, you mean that they are extremely tall, broad, and strong-looking. This guy was built like a brick shithouse, with a huge mustache and smouldering brown eyes. Note: You can use brick-shithouse before a noun to describe someone who looks like this. He brought his brick-shithouse mate with him. Note: A shithouse is a slang word for a toilet. A brick shithouse is a strong outside toilet built using bricks instead of wood, from the time before many houses had indoor bathrooms.
See also: brick, built, like, shithouse
Collins COBUILD Idioms Dictionary, 3rd ed. © HarperCollins Publishers 2012


OK, OK. Maybe you have been dealing with people of higher learning than me around the oilfields, but among most I have had the honour of working with on the rigs and barges the meaning has been something that is strong and near unbreakable. More along your last quote.

PS> I HAVE worked with people who would interpret that term the same way as you as well. (“By the book”)


See also: skookum.


From now on no more brick shithouse, it all Skookum!!