Sedco 709 Arrives in Cape Town for Repairs

Three of Cape Town's largest ship repair companies have teamed up for the upgrade of Transocean's semisub, Sedco 709. DCD-Dorbyl Marine, Globe Engineering and SA Five were awarded contracts for work on the Sedco 709 by RBG.

The Sedco 709 is currently in Saldanha Bay where a heavy lift vessel, Gavea Lifter, will be partially submerged in the bay. The rig will then be strategically positioned over the Gavea lifter which will lift it out of the water by de-ballasting. Once safely 'dry docked' on board the heavy lift vessel, the Sedco 709 will be secured in place by means of special sea fastenings and the Gavea Lifter and towed to Cape Town where they will be moored.

The modifications and repair works to be carried out on the rig include:

  • The pre-fabrication and installation of four blister tanks on the forward, aft, port and starboard outboard sides of the main columns;
  • The renewal of 150 tons of high tensile steel plates and internals inside the port and starboard pontoons;
  • The installation of new accommodation modules which have been pre-fabricated and outfitted in Scotland. This will increase the personnel capacity of the vessel to 150.
  • New lifeboats and new lifeboat platform structures to accommodate the increase in personnel on board.
  • The renewal of approximately 3000 meters of pipe and a new brine system fitted.
  • The complete overhaul of one deck crane and the mechanical overhaul of thrusters and winches.

Chief executive of RBG, Doug Sedge said that this was an important strategic development for the company: "Securing significant contracts in new geographic locations is of great importance for the company's growth strategy and the phenomenal capability and scale of our rig upgrade business positions RBG as a leading player in this field. As this part of our business expands, we are able to take on rig repair work anywhere in the world – recent contracts have seen us working in Palermo, Las Palmas and the US. In addition, our Invergordon facility in Scotland is very active and will be upgrading three drilling rigs within the next few weeks. With respect to this project, we are working with some of South Africa's most respected companies to deliver the upgrade which positions us well in this developing region that has so much potential."

Salvo Cutino, marketing manager for DCD-DORBYL Marine said: "The Cape ship repair industry views this project which is the first of its kind, as a positive indication that future projects of this nature can be secured. The dry docking of this rig on the back of a heavy lift vessel is very significant. It presents the rig owners with an alternative option to docking in a conventional graving dock either in Europe or the Far East, and in turn, saves the owner millions of dollars in deviation costs and off-charter time delays. The confidence placed in South African operations by Transocean and RBG goes a long way to reinforcing this and we hope will attract other rig owners to consider Cape Town as a preferred location for future projects".