Graham Harman has worked as Exhibition Manager for PESGB for the last few decades. Now retired, he reminisces on some of his early memories in the industry…
In my early days in the oil industry, after I left GSI, I worked for EG&G Geophysical in the UK performing engineering studies, rig placement and pipeline surveys. In those days, very few if any of the boats were custom-built. Most companies could just afford to use converted vessels – who remembers the Trail Blazer, Galway Blazer et al?
One vessel though stood out for me and that was the Dutch-owned m.v. “Explorer”. The “Explorer” was a converted whaler with a very high prow (the harpoon gun had been removed but the mounting was still there) and a very low aft deck (you stood ankle-deep in water when deploying equipment). It was in fact a laboratory ship with a small drilling/coring rig and lab facilities. I did a few jobs on her but one in particular that I did in Nigeria stood out in my mind but not because of the work but the crew!
The captain and first officer were Dutch and married to each other – she in fact had more sea hours than the captain. The engineers were true-to-form and from Glasgow. The two cooks were Spanish and along with 8 Nigerians, 2 Americans, 2 Englishmen and a German we were a truly multi-national crew.
The whole crews compliment was made even more bizarre by the addition of 2 German Shepherd dogs (mother and daughter), 2 parrots and a small monkey.
Footnote: Somehow we all managed to communicate and get the job done.