One valve threatens mission’s success

When a crane operating in the Gulf of Mexico started malfunctioning, a critical operation was suddenly on the line. But with MacGregor OnWatch, the problem was identified and a temporary fix put in place within three hours. And within two days, an engineer was on board solving the problem for good.

May 2010, 22:00 (CET): Gulf of Mexico

A vessel with a large MacGregor AHC crane was preparing for a sensitive mission – the kind which simply is not allowed to fail. Problems with the main winch speed led to basics checks, but the problem could not be tracked down.

23:30 The chief decided to call MacGregor OnWatch. The engineer on duty made an initial assessment and then decided to mobilise the on-call software and hydraulic engineers. The engineers then accessed the crane via satellite link.

24:00 MacGregor engineers in Norway downloaded and analysed data on the crane’s operation history, hydraulic pressure log and alarm log.

Sunday morning, 1:00 The engineers guided the crew in testing certain functions while analysing values. The problem was traced to low main pressure in the winch. By 02.00, a faulty safety valve was identified. By installing a temporary replacement, the crane could continue operation, but without the AHC function. An engineer with spares was sent to New Orleans to rendezvous with the ship. The engineer left the same day with a clear mission and the correct spares. On Tuesday, he was on board fixing the problem permanently.

The ship’s mission was completed successfully. Without the proper support and satellite link, the owner would very likely have been forced to abort the mission. That would have meant at least two days diverted from the job going to port, waiting for an engineer and then waiting for spares. The damage in costs and prestige would have taken a heavy toll.

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