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The Deep Blue is capable of laying pipe in three
primary modes.

Reel lay
Flexible lay

The following pages illustrate the basic operations of

each mode.
REEL LAY (Spooling)
Reel lay can be divided into spooling and laying.

Spooling varies slightly between the Mobile and

Dande spoolbases, i.e. two lines in Mobile
and one line in Dande.

However, the principle of the operation remains

the same.
Pipe stalks are spooled up the Spoolbase to the vessel

Over spooling rollers on the aft deck
Mobile Dande

Under the Tower and through the MWP (moveable
work platform)


Up to and through the RDT (rigid deck tensioner)

Port RDT Starboard RDT

An elbow is then attached to the pawn head & secured in
the inner flange of the reel
REEL LAY (laying)
Reeled pipe is laid through the tower and is controlled
with the lay equipment in the tower and moon pool.


The pipe is tailed from the reel and over the main aligner,
which is supported by the top module

Top module

Main aligner
The Straighteners remove the curvature in the pipe
induced by reeling
Main aligner

Lower Straightener

Upper Straightener
The upper and lower main tensioners control the pipe as
it moves down through the tower.
Note. Each tensioner has a capacity of 275Te.


Most pipe lay operations take place in the MWP
including, welding, anode & buckle arrestor
installation, FJC (field joint coating), etc

Middle floor


MWP Control
The HOM (hang off module) is located in the moon
pool beneath the MWP and its function is to hold
the pipe catenary below the vessel.
The HOM has a capacity of 770Te.

The pipe lay operations are controlled from the MCR
(master control room) located on the port side of the
Port tower leg

J-LAY (loading)
J-lay can also be divided in to loading and

Regardless of the vessels global location, quad

joints are always loaded from a supply vessel
or a barge.

Loading takes place in the field once pipe lay has

Two quads (or three depending on pipe weight) are
lifted from the supply vessel to the starboard bin with
the Kenz crane and spreader bar.

Supply vessel with quads

Kenz lifts quad with spreader

Starboard pipe bin
Quads are then individually transferred to the port bin
(as required) with the Kones cranes because the
radius is too tight for the Kenz crane.

Kones cranes & grabbers

Port pipe bin
J-LAY (Laying)
J-lay is more labour intensive than reel lay as there are
far more processes to be completed.

Each Project has certain criteria or processes that must

be carried out in order to meet Client specifications.

A typical J-lay cycle consists of the following

A quad is lifted in to the Ready Rack and the ends are
prepared for welding in the PFM (pipe facing
machine) stations located forward and aft.

Aft PFM station

Ready rack & quad
Forward PFM station
PFM machine
The quad is then rolled in to the ready rack firing line and
positioned for the loader arm using powered Diablo rollers.
Note also Kone cranes in stowage position.

Kone cranes in stowage position

Diablo rollers

Quad in ready rack firing line

The loader arm is lowered to the ready rack firing line
and the LUT (line up tool) clamps on to the quad.

LUT clamps

Loader arm

Quad to be raised to tower

LUT and upper guide clamp on quad

The loader arm raises the quad in to the tower and the
LUT lowers it in to position in the MWP above the
previous quad.
Loader arm and quad being raised to tower
Loader arm and quad in tower

Quad in LUT
Quad in HOM
The ILUC (internal line up clamp) is lowered through
the quad from the top of the tower. The ILUC
provides a solid backing for the welding operations
and assists with the final alignment.

ILUC (sizes very for different pipe IDs) ILUC garage at top of tower
The LUT is operated by the Spacer who aligns the
quad with the quad in the HOM.
LUT (line up tool)

Pipe alignment with Spacer, Barge Foreman

and welders
Once aligned, the quads are normally welded with semi
automatic bugs. TIG welding is sometimes used for the root.

Semi automatic welding bug and band

TIG welding
In the case of PIP (pipe-in-pipe), half shells are used to
join the outer pipe.

Half shell installation and fit up

Once the weld has been cooled, it is inspected using
AUT scanners (automatic ultrasonic testing).

Scanning weld with AUT bug

AUT bug on calibration stand

The accepted weld is then coated with a FJC and the top
of the quad is captured in the head clamp.

FJC application

Quad captured in head clamp

The HOM is opened and the transfer winches are paid
out so that the quad can be lowered to the MWP.

Quad and catenary lowered to MWP

Transfer winches

Quad at MWP
Once the head clamp reaches the MWP, the HOM is
closed, the head clamp is released and raised to its
rest position. The quad is in the HOM and the cycle
begins again.
Head clamp released from quad

Head clamp at rest position and cycle repeats

FLEXIBLE-LAY (loading)
As with reel lay and J-lay, flexible lay can also be
divided in to loading and laying.

Loading is normally done while the vessel is alongside

or at anchorage, depending on the size of the product
being loaded.

Flexible pipe is loaded to the Deep Blue in one of two

Either reels of pipe are loaded to the deck and
transpooled, or the pipe is transpooled directly from a
carousel barge.
Reel barge

Carousel barge
The pipe is transpooled from its storage reel or carousel,
along the flex chute and through the Tri-Cat tensioner
to the forward and / or aft carousel.

Reel on under rollers


Flex chute
The pipe is carefully arranged in the carousel to prevent
the possibility of damage and to maximise the amount
of pipe being loaded.

Loading arm

Deep Blue carousel basket

The pipe is lifted out of the carousel with No.2 crane
and guided through the Tri-Cat.
Aft carousel hatch
Using the 150Te winch and the Kenz crane if necessary,
the pipe is lifted up to and over the flex aligner and
then back down through the tower and tensioners.
Kenz Crane

150Te winch wire

Flexible pipe

Flex aligner
All the appropriate fittings are added and checks made
at the MWP before the line is lowered through the
moon pool.
1st End fitting
Bend restrictor rings

Protection cover
As and when necessary, the 2nd end fitting of the pipe
can be hung off on the HOT (hang off table) by
attaching a C-plate style collar to the end fitting.

2nd End fitting

Hang off collar

Although this process sounds very simple, it can
actually be a more demanding process than rigid pipe
as the pipe is more prone to damage and so great care
must be taken when handling it.

An IPB (integrated production bundle) is even more

demanding as it has a large diameter, is very heavy
and there are many operations required to be
performed on the end fittings prior to lay down.
Tower Jacking
The Tower is hinged at the main deck level and is
designed to lay pipe between 90 & 58 from
horizontal for all lay modes. In a survival condition, it
can be jacked down to 34 where it rests on its cradle.

During pipe lay operations, the tower is jacked up or

down in accordance with Project analysis lay tables.

Due to its size and height, the Tower presents a high

potential for dropped objects and this should be borne
in mind whenever walking beneath the tower.
The photo below shows the Tower on its cradle in its
survival condition.

Tower Cradle
The Deep Blue employs four A&R systems
(abandonment & recovery), each of which is capable
of a different capacity.

The four systems and their capacities are listed below:

150Te Winch - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - (0 150Te)

360Te Winch - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - (150Te 360Te)
Pipe Follower - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - (360Te 400Te)
HOH (hand over hand) Slings - - - - (400Te 675Te)
The 150Te winch can be routed three ways:
through the moon pool for A&R operations
up through the tower to initiate pipe from the reels.

150Te winch & spooler

150Te moon pool & tower sheave

And to the stern for recovery of structures (piles, etc)

150Te starboard sheave

Stern roller
The 360Te winch is routed through the top of the tower
and is only used for pipe line A&R.

360Te capstan winch

360Te wire storage drum

360Te wire route up

port tower leg
The Pipe Follower is a free flooding flexible pipe that is
held in the main tensioners. It is stored in a purpose
built partition in the forward carousel and is routed
along the flex chute, over the flex aligner and through
the tower.

Pipe follower partition

Note. HOH slings
are no longer stored
in forward carousel

Pipe follower end fitting

The HOH slings are utilised for exceptionally large
A&R scenarios and are not stored onboard the vessel.
A series of 17 slings are used in conjunction with the
JFL transfer system to gradually abandon or recover a
Head Clamp
2nd HOH link
HOH bucket & sling

HOH sling

1st HOH link