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Tuesday, September 18, 2012

Who Ya Gonna Call When Your Oil Platform Sinks? 1-800-VB10000

As a Mechanical Engineer and Machinist, This shit blows my mind........


Though they weigh as much as 60,000 tons, the massive semi-submersible oil rigs dotting the Gulf of Mexico can still sink when faced with a hurricane's onslaught. And there's only one way to pull the rigs' 7,500 ton decks off the seafloor after such a catastrophe—with America's heaviest-lifting ship, the VB 10,000.
Designed by the Versabar corporation (based off the company's previous heavy lifter, the Bottom Feeder) and constructed by Gulf Marine Fabricators in Ingleside, Texas, the $100-million VB 10,000 is a heavy-lift catamaran that mounts a pair of massive lift gantries atop a pair of barges. Perhaps massive is a bit of an understatement.
Each gantry measures 240-feet tall and weighs 3,400 tons—or about as much as the Ben Franklin Bridge in Pennsylvania. The barges both measure 300 feet by 72 feet and each is powered by a quartet of 1,000HP thrusters which also allow it to remain stationary over the job site. And to prevent the motion of the ocean from affecting the the lift, the VB 10,000 utilizes a set of articulated pins to connect the gantries to the barges. To perform the actual lift, four 2000-ton lifting blocks are attached to the oil rig deck by divers, who also cut off the rig's legs, and are then pulled to the surface by the vessel's quad 400-ton winches and deposited on the back of a waiting barge for transport back to port.

There are lots of videos on youtube, just search Versabar VB10000


  1. Oh.... BIG toy! :-) Neat one, thanks!

  2. Phyllis (N/W Jersey)September 18, 2012 at 9:48 PM

    A giant old fashioned Erector Set!

  3. Looks to me like the new and improved version of the lifting mechanism of the Glomar Explorer :-)

  4. Hi, what a great web blog. I usually spend hours on the net reading blogs on various subjects. And, I really would like to praise you for writing such a fabulous article. I honestly believe there is a skill to writing articles that only very few posses and yes you got it. This is really informative and I will for sure refer my friends the same. Thanks. platform lift,


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