Monday, August 30, 2010

MV Cade Candies Tour August 27, 2010

Upon our arrival in Anacortes several weeks ago, we naturally drove around town to get our bearings.  As we drove through the commercial area and neared the coast (Guemes Channel) we saw a ship being built that towered over the downtown area.  We took a couple of pictures and marveled at the size, and wondered what it's purpose would be.

Sometime later, we hitched a ride with David from the 25 C-Dory "Anna Leigh".  David pointed out the ship from the Guemes Channel as we returned from a tour of the San Juan Islands.  He said that he understood that the builder was planning an open house on the ship sometime in August.  We immediately went to the builder's office as soon as practical to find out when the open house would occur.  Willie asked the receptionist about the open house.  The receptionist informed Willie that the open house would not be until October.  Willie must have seemed so disappointed that the President of Dakota Creek Industries, Richard Nelson, who happened to be in the front office noticed.  Mr. Nelson or Dick as he prefers to be called asked Willie about her interest in the ship he was building.  She must have convinced him of her sincerity as he offered to let us join a private tour he had planned for the Director of the Skagit County Port.

So that is how on Friday the 27th of August, Walldog and Willie took a two hour or so tour of this tremendous ship being built here in Anacortes, Washington.  We found out that this is not the first ship that Dakota Creek Industries has built for Otto Candies, LLC., an oil field services company based in Des Allemands, Louisiana.  A sister ship to this one and an only slightly smaller version are already at work for Otto Candies in the Gulf of Mexico.  This ship will join them in 2011 after being fitted in Norway with a 150 ton crane.  This link to the Ross Candies will give you the specifications of this ship.  I will not recite all of them here except to say that this vessel is over 300 feet long, or over the length of a football field and the beam is 66 feet.  It is anchored in place by a "DP2" system that will keep it at a spot in the ocean without moving more than 1 meter in up to 45 mph winds.  It is designed to carry and service ROVs or Remote Operated Vessels that perform maintenance on the bottom of the Gulf of Mexico up to 8,000 feet deep.  The claws, pinchers, grabbers and other tools of the ROV are serviced in a workshop that is accessed by an opening in the deck of the ship.  The Cade Candies has quarters for 75 personnel.  I found it interesting that the ship has lifeboat capacity for 80 people on each side of the ship.

Dakota Creek Industries plans to float the MV Cade Candies this week.  The shipyard has an elevator platform that the ship will be pulled onto.  The cables are already in place.  Then the platform will be lowered into the water and the ship will be launched.  We hope to be there when it happens and document the event.  We have an album set up here with the pictures taken of the Cade Candies so far.  We will add others there as we take them.

Willie asked me to pass along her thoughts on the tour:

I am overwhelmed with the size of the vessel and the completeness of this self-contained ‘city.’  The purpose is to transport ROVs (remote operating vessels) to the ocean floor, such as those at Deep Water Horizon off the coast of Venice, Louisiana.
The sophistication is such that when the boat is in place for work (DP2 it is called), it will not move more than one meter (~ three feet) in a 45 mph wind.
All systems on the boat are in duplicate, so that if something is not working, the other system will, while the down system is being repaired.  If a navigation light goes out, an alarm sounds so the replacement can be turned on, and the crew will know to do the maintenance.
The staterooms are built for four-man, three-man and a few for two.  One stateroom is private, and is reserved for the charter of the boat or his representative.  There is a media room for orientation; there are many conference rooms for the ongoing decisions to be made while the boat is in operation.  Work goes on 24/7 and there are several crews.   In the galley there are dinner tables, as well as a counter and stools and a Captain’s Table.  As we pass through the galley, we see notes taped on the wall informing the construction crew that the appliances are stainless steel and they should not touch!
A seawater reclamation system provides fresh water.
The heliport is built with a crash in mind.  There are escape routes on the front and back of the pad, leading to the area below.
There are six levels on the boat – four decks – and the ladders of steel are steep and compact.
Joining us on the tour are Patsy, director of the Port of Skagit County in Burlington WA, and her sons who used to work for Dakota Creek.  At the end of the tour Dick invites us to his office, where he has windows with a great view of Cade Candies and we get to meet his wife Linda.  He gives us a calendar with pictures of the boat, and a souvenir pen.
If I say “Amazing!” or “Awesome” once, I say it a thousand times on this tour.  We feel very fortunate to have this experience.

You will notice some pictures of an articulated ocean going tug in the photos.  This tug, the "Legacy" and a sister ship the "Legend"  are being built by Dakota Creek Industries for Crowley Maritime to match up with two 330,000 barrel capacity ATB barges that will also operate in the Gulf of Mexico.  These rigs will carry product from Texas refineries to the East coast of the US.

Walldog, Willie and Jake

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