BLR Companies of Rayne, LA has been using a barge mounted crawler crane to recover objects from oil platforms that were strewn into the water during last fall's hurricanes.
“Almost as soon as Hurricanes Katrina and Rita had left the area, we had barges with cranes on them to assist in the severely impacted recovery area,” said Jackie Duplechain marine superintendent for BLR Companies. “An example of post hurricane work done with our barge-mounted Link-Belt 108 Hylab 5 was a platform restoration operation in Vermillion Bay south of Intercoastal City.”
The job involved recovery of objects both on the platform and under water.
“We moved our crane and barge intact to the site from the Slidell area through the Gulf Intracoastal Waterway and its navigation locks to a location about five miles south of Redfish Point,” Duplechain explained. Once in position, two 40 inch by 16 foot spuds were lowered to help maintain the position. The vessels included a 40 by 120 foot crane barge, a 30 by 120 foot support barge and a 22 by 52 foot, 900 horsepower tugboat, The General.
The crawler, with an operating weight of 98,830 pounds, was resting on 12 by 12 inch timbers and fastened with a one inch diameter steel cable and two, three foot turnbuckles to a pair of pad eyes welded to the barge deck. The cable was snuggled down, but with enough play to allow slight movement to prevent it snapping if an unanticipated impact load was suddenly applied. The crane had 100 feet of straight boom and the factory optional extra counterweight, bumping its rating up to a 60 ton crane.
The barges were fastened together with wire and hemp ropes to help spread the area of stability over a larger square foot area. Divers were dispatched into the 10 to 15 feet deep soft-soil bottomed water to locate and rig for lifting the debris-entangled production platform components. After the divers were safely out of the water and aboard the barge, crane operator Dale Torro began to recover the buoyed loads and gently lower them onto the waiting transport barge.
Duplechain said the crane is also used to drive timber location pile foundations on land, inshore waters and shallow marshlands. “It's a multi-functional crane, small with exceptional weight and balance,” he said.
BLR Companies serves oil, gas and petrochemical industries in Mississippi, Louisiana and Texas, offering everything from “turnkey” oil well site location installations to storm or disaster related salvage, recovery or remediation operations, with crews working in both land and marine environments.