SEACOR Marine FSV speeds hurricane relief to Puerto Rico


(HOUMA, La.) — When SEACOR Marine designed the next generation of “fastest in the oil patch” fast support vessels (FSVs), it did not anticipate one of them would be supporting hurricane recovery efforts in Puerto Rico. Along with many U.S. oilfield service vessels, the FSV Liam J. McCall is now transporting critical supplies and equipment to the stricken island. With a full load of deck cargo and communications specialists, the vessel sped to Puerto Rico, making the 1,200-mile voyage from Miami in a near record-breaking 36-hour transit.

“We knew this would become a critical tool for transporting personnel and equipment to deep water oil and gas facilities. These trips to Puerto Rico establish their benefit in emergency response," said John Gellert, CEO of SEACOR Marine Holdings. "With the Liam J. McCall being one of the fastest vessels in our fleet, we are glad its speed could translate into expediting delivery of critical infrastructure equipment to help restore communications in Puerto Rico. No other offshore support vessel could have delivered these supplies as quickly as the Liam.”

SEACOR Marine has been a pioneer in the fast movement of personnel and cargo. Originally known as crew boats, aluminum vessels used to move offshore workers and light cargo to nearby production platforms. For many years the primary evolution was to build bigger vessels. The new-generation FSVs focus on creature comforts, are designed for long trips, and can handle over 300 long tons on an open deck of over 3,000 square feet. SEACOR Marine has four Comfort-class vessels and six CrewZer-class catamarans in service with speeds from 38 to 42 knots. Four additional Comfort-class vessels are under construction and will join the fleet in the next two years.

“These vessels offer our customers a more cost efficient, comfortable, flexible, and safe option to helicopters. They have ride control technology (stabilizers), dynamic positioning Class 2 (DP-2) with full system redundancy, interiors with airline style ‘pod’ seating, full Internet connectivity, and LED lighting," Gellert said. "We are now transporting over 30,000 offshore workers per month in West Africa, the Middle East, North Sea, Mexico, and the United States.”

Capt. Bobby Soileau, who has made two trips to Puerto Rico on Liam J. McCall, said, “These vessels are no longer a traditional crew boat. With the nice reclining seats, this vessel is very comfortable for our passengers. With ride control and stabilizers on board we can comfortably maintain good speed, even in rough seas, which is good for the crew, good for the passengers, and good for the cargo. I asked our guests about the ride and they all said it was comfortable.”

Chris Nance, chief engineer on Liam J. McCall, added, “The last passage averaged 25-plus knots even though at times we were slicing through 6- to 8-foot seas.”

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By Professional Mariner Staff