OSV goes West, finds a new life

Foss Maritime’s 40-foot lightering support vessel Piper Inness in Long Beach, Calif. (Brian Gauvin)

In the Gulf of Mexico, the140-foot Piper Inness would be called an OSV. However, at Long Beach, Calif., where Foss Maritime owns the vessel and operates it in support of tanker lightering, it is called an LSV, or “lightering support vessel.” Piper Inness, built at Graham Gulf in Alabama in 1997, is contracted to Chevron.

Using the inward turning inboard engines and the outward turning outboard engines, Capt. Jeff White walked Piper Inness back and forth along the hull of the Chevron tanker Aquarius Voyager, anchored a few miles off Long Beach. The object was to position its aft deck under the tanker’s crane in order to receive huge mooring lines, cables and shackles. Engineer Tony Cuesta Jr. and deck hand George Martinez handled the deck duties.

Deck hand George Martinez aboard Piper Inness alongside the tanker Aquarius Voyager. (Brian Gauvin)
Piper Inness then headed off to another Chevron tanker, Andromeda Voyager, to transfer the gear. Later in the week, Andromeda, with Piper Inness in support, rendezvoused with a specially outfitted lightering vessel in Echo PAL (Pacific Area Lightering E). Piper Inness carried the riggers and lighter masters, and provided on-station oil-spill response. A large green tarp on the aft deck covers the spill-response equipment and coiled boom.

“Our primary purpose is escort and spill response,” said White. “A typical turnaround is two to four days working out at Echo PAL.”

Piper Inness is named in honor of Piper Inness Cameron, the deck hand killed in an on-board accident (See PM #104, page 40).

Capt. Jeff White at the controls. (Brian Gauvin) Deck hand George Martinez, Capt. Jeff White, Chief Engineer Tony Cuesta Jr. and Mate Leonard Thompson. (Brian Gauvin)
The vessel is powered by four Caterpillar C3212 turbo diesels that put out a total of 5,200 hp. (Brian Gauvin) Tony Cuesta Jr. and George Martinez connect mooring gear to the hook of Andromeda Voyager’s crane. (Brian Gauvin)
Chief Engineer Tony Cuesta Jr. next to the electrical control panel in the engine room. (Brian Gauvin) Piper Inness approaches the tanker Andromeda Voyager. (Brian Gauvin)
By Professional Mariner Staff