Nimrod Stuff

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Pontius Navigator
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Re: Nimrod Stuff

#21 Post by Pontius Navigator » Fri Mar 13, 2020 9:39 pm

UP, until you mentioned it I had quite forgotten that callsign though we did innumerable Tapestry sorties. It was jointly funded by Age and Fish (70%) and Department of Energy (30%) and together they funded a Nimrod.

Whenever we had nothing better to do, or were near the rigs, we would log the time and bill DoE.

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Re: Nimrod Stuff

#22 Post by G~Man » Fri Mar 13, 2020 10:32 pm

Pontius Navigator wrote:
Fri Mar 13, 2020 9:39 pm
UP, until you mentioned it I had quite forgotten that callsign though we did innumerable Tapestry sorties.
Ahhhh the many hours flying around the North Sea at 200' looking at fishing boats.... Those were the days..... Standard NATO tea and honkers stew in the oven.....
B-) Life may not be the party you hoped for, but while you're here, you may as well dance. B-)

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Re: Nimrod Stuff

#23 Post by Pontius Navigator » Sat Mar 14, 2020 8:40 am

G~man, remember one pea soup day checking rigs, no idea what we hoped to find. Called up by a chopper who asked what the weather was: "base 200, vis about 1-2 miles."

May as well go home he said, my platform is 300. As I said we loved that DoE was paying. Just worked out the rate, about 2p/mile or £4/min. 😁

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Re: Nimrod Stuff

#24 Post by CharlieOneSix » Sat Mar 14, 2020 10:41 am

Back in the mid/late 70's we were detached to Penzance Heliport flying to the Wimpey Sealab drilling ship many miles west of the Scillies. It was very comforting at weekends in the winter when not a lot was happening aviation wise in those parts to have a passing Nimrod offer a flight watch....
The helicopter pilots' mantra: If it hasn't gone wrong then it's just about to...

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Re: Nimrod Stuff

#25 Post by Undried Plum » Sat Mar 14, 2020 12:36 pm

On my first day aboard Piper I was given an extensive tour of the whole platform by the OIM. I very clearly remember him saying "If this thing catches fire it'll be like a large nuclear bomb."

Immediately below the accommodation was the process machinery which cleaned up the oil so it was fit to be sent through the export line to Flotta. The system had been designed for up to a quarter of a million barrels per day, but the actual throughput was over 360,000bpd. They put so much oil through that line, and at such a very high pressure, that they actually burst the hydrocouple half-way to Flotta. The DoE ordered a Nimrod to keep a continuous watch on the repair operation 24x7 until a repair was effected.

Incidentally, the film Local Hero was very firmly based on the acquisition of the land for the Flotta terminal. The megalomaniacal oil tycoon had his name changed from Armand Hammer to Arnold Happer to keep the lawyers happy. The gangly young mutlilingual Scots Surveyor had the spelling of his (my, actually) surname slightly altered and many of the other characters were based on real people too.

Emergency evacuation was to be by helicopter, not lifeboats. Part of my job was to co-ordinate those flights until I dropped, then hand over control to Watchdog . When the General Alarm was sounded the procedure for people inside the accommodation was to gather at the foot of the wooden (!) staircases and await the Abandonment signal from the Control Room. Then to go upstairs in groups of 19 for the 61s and 9 for the 212s and be ferried either to the adjacent floatel or to Claymore. On that dreadful night the first explosion took out the Control Room and killed the operators, so there never was an Abandonment Alarm. Anyway, the fire was so intense that there was no prospect of landing a helicopter on the helideck.

I'd moved on a decade before the fire, but I worked on the body recovery for a couple weeks. Bloody grim.

Rescue 137 had a film crew aboard who disembarked aboard Tharos (floatel and rescue/firefighting vessel). Here's the resultant film:

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Re: Nimrod Stuff

#26 Post by Boac » Sat Mar 14, 2020 1:34 pm

We had a co in DanAir whose son went out on a 3 day college 'famil' and never returned. Devastating for all.

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Re: Nimrod Stuff

#27 Post by CharlieOneSix » Sat Mar 14, 2020 1:43 pm

I had a small part in the Piper Alpha night as relayed here: viewtopic.php?p=137923#p137923. I've said it many times but the radio op on the Tharos fire fighting vessel deserved formal recognition for the way he handled things for many hours. We arrived on scene at about 2300 but without a winch we could do nothing and the Nimrod asked us to shut down on the Ocean Victory to await instructions whilst the winch equipped helos did their job. It was about 0300 we departed for Aberdeen Royal Infirmary with 3 stretcher cases, 4 walking wounded and a couple of medics.

I wrote a more detailed story of the night for a yet to be published book about North Sea oil/gas exploration.

That's us arriving at Aberdeen Royal Infirmary in G-BKFN in this video at 2:12....
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Re: Nimrod Stuff

#28 Post by Undried Plum » Sat Mar 14, 2020 1:50 pm

I lost a very good friend in that fire. He was a Survey technician and bloody good. His Surveyor, whom I also know very well, had just sent him across to the platform from Tharos to re-align an Artemis unit when the first explosion occurred. The Surveyor was beside himself with grief and an irrational feeling of guilt.

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Re: Nimrod Stuff

#29 Post by Undried Plum » Sat Mar 14, 2020 2:21 pm

I think it's worth mentioning the extraordinary heroism of the standby boat crew Silver Pit. The MOBboat repeatedly went in to the fire to rescue men from the lower deck and the boat landing stage. Two of them lost their lives. Several (I think five) George Medals were awarded to those men.

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Re: Nimrod Stuff

#30 Post by FD2 » Tue Mar 24, 2020 1:16 am

Harrowing watching it in that clip. I remember sitting rotors running on deck one day for a crew change when they had to change over flares as the heat and fumes were blowing back across the helideck. Even through the cockpit windows it was warm on our faces. Someone fired the Very pistol across the unlit gas which had been turned on a few seconds before and it ignited like the 'towering inferno'. I looked at the HLO and said "I wouldn't like his job." He replied "He doesn't like his job either", and that heat from the newly ignited flare really felt like it was burning our faces till they turned it down a bit. To see that big explosion on the film makes the hairs stand up on my neck. I was away from North Sea work by the time of the disaster.

I was not impressed by that strange and mysterious man Armand Hammer when I flew him from Aberdeen to Kirkwall and then on to Flotta. He only had eyes for Margaret Thatcher and possible UK investment in Oxy.
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