Setting a world record in the time of COVID-19

In April, Maersk Viking, after 147 days of successful operations with POSCO INTERNATIONAL, departed Myanmar. Despite the difficulties imposed by the COVID-19 crisis, a proactive response meant that the drillship could continue operations and even pushed the boundaries for shallow water drilling.

Setting a world record in the time of COVID-19

During its contract for POSCO INTERNATIONAL offshore Myanmar, Maersk Viking’s onshore rig team was approached by the customer to evaluate the possibility of drilling four top holes in shallow water down to 105 m water depth before their upcoming development campaign. An operation like this had never been performed by any 7th generation drillship, especially with the possible presence of shallow gas, but both onshore and offshore management addressed the challenge with an open mind and willingness to evaluate it.

Thanks to a detailed risk assessment and a can-do attitude, the Maersk Viking moved boundaries and successfully drilled four top holes in 105-142 m water depth, with the possibility of shallow gas presence.

A proactive response to COVID-19

During this time, another big challenge the rig team had to face was the worldwide outbreak of COVID-19. Early actions were taken in January in cooperation with the customer to secure supplies for the rig, reduce personnel inflow to the rig and improve safety measures. Additional sanitizer was supplied onboard, the wearing of respiratory masks during travel was introduced early on, meetings were limited, and cleaning was intensified.

As the situation became more serious and more travel restrictions were imposed, the team prepared for increased flexibility. The Maersk Viking crew was consulted early on and many volunteered to stay on board much longer than initially planned in order to reduce health risks. Anyone who did not wish to work extra time had the option to go home with normal crew change.

“Despite the fact that everyone was working much longer hitches than normal, the morale on the rig was very high. Additional time puts a strain on everyone, but we remained positive. We felt safe on the rig as it was well isolated from the outside world and we were looking forward to having some well-earned rest later,” says Donald Mclarty, Technical Section Leader.

“We can be really proud of the crew we have on Maersk Viking. Their can-do attitude and high competencies prove our company’s technical acumen. It would have been impossible to manage through the COVID-19 crisis if it wasn’t for their commitment and positive approach,” says Menno Bosma, Unit Director.

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