GAC takes care of ‘floating community’ at South Africa’s newest port

  • calendar

    21 October 2015



Drilling rig brought to Ngqura for survey

Cape Town - A massive drilling rig has completed its latest Special Periodic Survey and is now back in active duty off the coast of Angola. GAC South Africa was appointed to take care of the behemoth during its five-week stay at the deep water port of Ngqura.

Weighing in at 37,756 GR, measuring 117m x 78m x 37m and with accommodation for up to 180 people, the ‘Maersk Deliverer’ needed plenty of room. It found it at Ngqura, South Africa's newest port, which has an entrance channel depth of 18m, a turning basin of 600m in diameter and 18m Port Chart Datum.

GAC South Africa was appointed by Maersk Drilling to coordinate supplies, provisions, spare parts and accommodation for experts required for the rig’s survey.

Eric Barnard, Managing Director of GAC Shipping, says green credentials were high on the agenda throughout the works as Ngqura is part of an environmentally protected area. The relatively isolated location of the port,on the east coast of South Africa 25km north of Port Elizabeth,presented a challenge in terms of procurement  and housing the Maersk project team as well as more than 200 third party contractors for the duration of the survey.

“A core focus of GAC when working projects such as this is to secure as much of the local procurement requirements of our client, the majority of which was highly technical or specialised nature. That presented its own issues with Ngqura not being a big industrial city,” he adds. “Every challenge was met with a successful outcome and this is largely due to the solid efforts of our staff including the Operations Manager, Rene Kruger and Marine Representative, Elfranco Arries.”

GAC Shipping mobilised Marine Representatives to tend to all agency related aspects of the project, and worked with the team of oil & gas logistics colleagues at GAC Laser to tend to all of the logistics requirements. A 5,000m² warehouse was rented within the Ngqura Industrial Development Zone to serve as a storage area for over 400 inbound airfreight shipments and another 300+ coming in by sea freight. The warehouse also served as the base for the GAC project and logistics team.

Project Coordinators were kept busy around the clock. To take care of personnel brought in for the survey, GAC arranged accommodation and daily transport for more than 200 contractors over two shifts. As no transport is available from Ngqura, it had to be mobilized from Port Elizabeth.

GAC was also asked to arrange and oversee the delivery of bunker fuels to the ‘Maersk Deliverer’ by ship-to-ship transfer before departure. When it transpired that the two local suppliers licensed for such an operation at Ngqura were unable to meet the demand, due to the large quantity required, GAC obtained a temporary bunkering license on behalf of the bunker supplier.

Strong match
Thanks to careful preparation and coordination of the many complex elements involved, the rig’s survey was completed ahead of schedule and under budget.

Maersk Drilling’s Project Manager Morten Mose says GAC’s competitive rates, excellent track record on previous projects and ability to offer turnkey solutions were what helped win the contract.

“From the tender process, it was clear that GAC’s business philosophy was a strong match with ours,” he adds. “That was confirmed by the professional way in which GAC undertook its duties through to conclusion of a successful project and partnership between GAC and Maersk Drilling.”