World's First Self-Propelled Semisubmersible Drilling Rig Ocean Prospector Floats Again After 14 Years

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PRC, Plant Recovery Company, an asset recovery business based in Pasadena, Texas, successfully moved the Ocean Prospector pre-Victory class semisubmersible in Galveston harbor. The rig had been sitting in place for over 14 years and will begin preparations for a reintroduction back into the market at its new location.

The world’s first self-propelled semisubmersible drilling rig is floating and relocated after 14 years. PRC, Plant Recovery Company, an asset recovery business based in Pasadena, Texas, successfully moved the Ocean Prospector pre-Victory class semisubmersible in Galveston harbor with the assistance of T&T Marine Salvage, Offshore Mechanics, Inc., and Versatile Marine Services. The rig was moved from its longtime location across from the Cruise terminal to Malin International Ship Repair and Drydock, where it will undergo initial preparations for an introduction back into the offshore market.

The Ocean Prospector was designed and built by ODECO in 1971 and was the first semisubmersible drilling rig to be self-propelled, now a standard in the industry. The rig drilled around the world in warm waters for ODECO and then Diamond Offshore after their merger in 1992. The rig was brought into Galveston in 1998 for inspections and maintenance when the decision was made to stack it. It remained in place for the next 14 years where it changed in ownership several times.

PRC acquired the rig in 2011 and began preparations for a tow and deconstruction operation. It was during this process that the vessels condition became known and the feasibility of a conversion or upgrade was determined. Every true Victory class rig has been upgraded and is operational. The two remaining Victory-type rigs remain unmodified.

While the move operations were completed over four days, it was the result of months of planning and preparation. T&T Marine Salvage helped overcome the challenges faced with moving a rig that had been sitting in place for such a long time. Their experience with salvage operations helped overcome the lack of working systems and high mud line; both a result of the amount of time spent sitting in place. Offshore Mechanics, Inc. provided critical engineering and technical support, while Versatile Marine Services provided the Barge Captain who brought the rig into port in 1998.

PRC will continue preparing the Prospector for a cross Gulf tow at which time she will leave the Galveston skyline forever.

05/16/2012

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Kristofer Shelton