As many as 220 people per shift came to work aboard the Perdido deepwater spar during the peak of commissioning and hookup, but it was a short commute – they all lived next door.

Their offshore home was the HOS Achiever, a new 430-foot, third-generation dynamically-positioned (DP) multi-purpose support vessel (MPSV) that Hornbeck Offshore (NYSE:HOS) had turned into a floating hotel.

“The workers called it their flotel,” says Ben Todd, Vice President of Hornbeck Offshore’s MPSV and Specialty OSV Fleet. “When Shell came to us in 2008, no vessel in the area met Shell’s needs for its offshore workforce.”

For more than eight months, the 430-foot DP-3 HOS Achiever MPSV served as Perdido’s floating hotel.

The multi-purpose DP-3 HOS Achiever certainly was large enough for the job, but not set up for as many guests as Shell required; so in early 2009, Hornbeck spent six weeks reconfiguring the vessel to accommodate 283 passengers and crew. Additional galleys, lounges and sleeping quarters were added, with common areas including wireless internet service, satellite TV and sat-phones available any time.

Not only did the workers need a comfortable place to live, they and their gear had to be lifted safely across open water back and forth from the spar each day. During the HOS Achiever’s 244 continuous service days in the field, there were more than 47,300 personnel transfers between the vessel and the spar. At the peak of activity, the HOS Achiever also received as many as three of the big Sikorsky S-92 helicopters a day.

“Shell really supported us on the inhabitability of the vessel,” Todd says. “Shell’s people participated in the design and layout of the additional mess rooms and galleys, and the deck where we did the personnel transfers. A lot of thought went into all of that, and it made for a very smooth evolution.”

HOS operates some of the world’s most advanced offshore service vessels.


A logistics challenge


Working on the spar, in transit, or asleep in their room on the ship, the safety and comfort of every person was accounted for at all times. Hornbeck’s onboard staff even tracked those who had rotated home, to make sure there was a bed available on the HOS Achiever when they returned.

In January, 2010, Ben Todd, Vice President of Hornbeck Offshore’s MPSV and Specialty OSV Fleet (left), accepted an award for outstanding safety performance from Dale Norman, Shell’s Construction team flotel lead for the Perdido project.

“We had 25 crew members for the vessel and another 28 catering and hotel staff on board,” Todd says. “While our marine crew was responsible for vessel operation and vessel safety, the rest of the staff cooked, cleaned, made up rooms and washed clothes, so that Shell’s team could focus on their jobs.”

Industrial-strength trash compactors minimized the volume of solid waste until it could be taken to an onshore landfill. Reverse-osmosis filters purified seawater to supply all of the ship’s water for drinking and bathing.

Cranes aboard the 430-foot DP-3 HOS Iron Horse MPSV can lift up to 400 tons of cargo.

“Over the course of the Perdido project, we received more than 1 million gallons of fuel for consumption by the HOS Achiever with no environmental incidents,” Todd says.


Safety success


The HOS Achiever began it’s transformation from MPSV to a floating hotel in February 2009. It was deployed to Perdido on April 16, and maintained station alongside the spar on continuous DP operations 24 hours a day for more than eight months with no downtime or operational interruptions. By the time the HOS Achiever and its crew left the field in mid-December, the vessel had logged nearly 184,000 work hours without a recordable incident.

“From the beginning, our primary concern was safety,” Todd notes. “A lot of the contractors were not accustomed to working on vessels, so we had to orient them to the hazards of working in a marine environment. Many workers came from shipyards, with limited experience offshore. With Shell’s help, all of the contractors completed orientation and training programs before going to the spar, so everyone knew what to expect.”

The 260-foot DP-2 BJ Blue Ray is a new breed of deepwater OSV well-stimulation vessel.

Dale Norman, Shell Construction team flotel lead for the Perdido project, commented, “Hornbeck Offshore’s ability to provide reliable and safe performance in supporting Perdido with the HOS Achiever made a significant contribution to the overall success of Shell’s global ‘Goal Zero’ safety program.”


About HOS


Through its fleet of over 80 vessels, Hornbeck Offshore provides technologically-advanced marine services for some of the energy industry’s most demanding projects. The 66-acre HOS Port marine base in Port Fourchon, Louisiana, includes nearly 3,000 linear feet of dock space. From there, HOS vessels provide logistical support for drilling, production and construction operations throughout the Gulf of Mexico. Elsewhere, HOS vessels are working for select upstream and downstream customers along the East and West Coasts of the United States, the Great Lakes, Puerto Rico, Mexico, Brazil, Trinidad and Qatar.

Hornbeck Offshore
Service with Energy®
103 Northpark Boulevard, Suite 300
Covington, LA 70433
Tel: 985-727-2000 • Fax: 985-727-2006

To access this Article, go to: