New culture, new lifestyle

Ok! Let’s explain a little bit more about the shipyards surroundings and Maersk Drilling Korean site office.

Location, Jangpyeong-Dong, Geoje Island Korea , which is located off the southernmost point of South Korea, the island is just over 40 mins drive from Busan, which is the second largest city in South Korea.

MD site office itself being located in Samsung main Building and being on the seventh floor it gives a fantastic view over the sprawling yard and all its fabrication sheds. The view continues outwards over the ships that are lined up against the various piers, or in one of the dry docks. The yard is in a bay (many here) which is surrounded in between heavily treed mountains with peaks all around in whatever direction you look, with some of the local towns high-rise apartments also being visible in very close proximity to the yard or sticking up over the edge of a mountain.


As you look around the yard there are many overhead bridge cranes ranging between 600ton and 800 ton dotted around. Also you can also see the dock style pedestal cranes that trundle up and down the tracks beside ships that they are serving with all the relevant building materials. A varied variety of vessels ranging from Container ships to tankers to the more recognizable drill ships. If you have never been in a shipyard then Samsung is without doubt one of the biggest and best organized yards that the majority of new people working here in the yard team will have seen.

Starting in the morning when thousands of yard workers and owner/customers all head in to the yard, you see a steady stream of grey coverall clad people on mopeds and in buses and cars, all being directed by the police that are both human and robotic. A strange thing when you see a manikin directing you with flashing batons. Daily routines are held when the entire workforce gathers for the daily instructions and team exercises which is held with music playing in the background. Strange for a lot of us but also all the trucks and cranes all seem to have a different tunes that sounds like a fairground, but they are all very good discreet warnings to the workforce when operational. Can’t quite imagine what the drill ships would be like if we introduced similar tunes to all moving machinery. Although some moving equipment warnings are necessary and also zoned areas.


There is a varied nationality of people in the site office from Danes to Koreans, Singaporean, to Scots, Kiwis, complimented up in China with Malays, Singaporean, and Texan. All together a varied mix of people and also the job disciplines from piping to structural, mechanical, electrical , document controllers, administrators, personnel dept., tagging, safety, site manager. For newcomers arriving in the site they are made very welcome very quickly as there is a very cooperative manner in the way people work and share things. Getting used to the different lifestyle takes time and most notably the biggest challenge is all the signs from roads to buildings which are adorned with neon lights and banners which are mostly in Korean although there are some easily identifiable pictorial signs.

Driving around the yard also poses its own challenges until you get used to it, as the road marking are slightly different to European ones and even more so for the people that come from countries where the steering wheel is on the opposite side. After a matter of days tentatively getting used to the differences it becomes more natural. Hence the need for the well-organized safety induction that all get from Samsung and more in depth tour and safety induction from our resident HSE colleague. 
So let’s move on to the vessels and what’s been happening of late.


Blocks are having inspections on a regular basis. Now maybe I should have explained about the blocks and the way it works. If we look at a complete hull then we can break that into 4 sections which in turn can be broken into approx. 50 different sections which in turn can be broken down into smaller sections ...and so on. This is a layman’s way of describing it but altogether there is about 600 blocks to make one complete Drillship Hull. So if you multiply that by 4 drill ships then there is a lot of steel being cut and welded together.

The derrick is also built in such a way that you end up with sections that will be put together as a whole unit eventually. Some hull blocks are in China along with the derrick structure. Derrick structure is being fabricated in 4 sections, FWD / AFT / PORT / STB, which will all be built, stripped, galvanized, shipped, and rebuilt in Korea.
Inspections are being carried out on a regular basis as are FATs which can mean driving to some remote places where you will find a variety of contractors working steadily on piping as an example, which all require to be witnessed and signed off.


This last couple of weeks has seen some more people arriving here in Korea and also needing to be introduced to the Yard the culture and of course some team building events. One of the good moments for the arrival of Jens Christian Andersen , was when he arrived all kitted out with the Stetson style hat and matching attire which indicated that there was a new (Don) in town. Which as some of our Copenhagen colleagues may know could cause a stir with “Sir John” ( Godfather) as he is referred to in a friendly manner, by having two of the same now!

Now a good team building event is a great way to get to know your work colleagues and even if you are working alongside people that you have known for a long time it’s also reason enough to get together. Communication is a key element. We have had the pleasure to have a combined barbeque evening with SHI employees which was noted to be in excess of 120 people of which around 20 were Maersk. This was a great evening and it was soon apparent that even with the amount of people from SHI that some had never met face to face and only recognized people by a name from an email and some had never met each other at all and had no idea who was in the team. Samsung were very impressed with the evening and greatly praised Maersk for being the first owner ever to do such an event which joined all people from SHI and Maersk together from a project. Some other events here have been the very well instructed First aid courses which we have been attending in groups. Bandages and learning the basics of first aid is a benefit both in work and at home.

Enjoy the Blog, and stay tuned. More importantly get to know your fellow workers as it makes the job go smoothly and safely.

Enjoy your summer.


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