Versabar's VB 10,000 Three Topsides Timeline


These three decommissioned topsides in the Western Gulf have been prepared for removal by Versabar’s
VB 10,000 Heavy Lift System. Unstable weather patterns in the Gulf have caused delays in the project, and it is hoped that on this occasion, at least one, and possibly two of the three topsides can be lifted clear of their jackets and placed on barges before the weather interferes.

Early in the morning the VB 10,000 begins to float over the first of the three decks. It carries 2,600 tons of rigging that has been assembled especially for the removal of these decks.

As the float-over proceeds, note the slots that have been cut in the legs of the platform. Inside these slots are pins that the VB 10,000 will use to make the lift.

The VB-10,00’s familiar “Claw” is visible as the Lift System positions itself. Attached to the lower extremity of the claw is a beam to which have been affixed a series of steel hooks. These are the hooks which will be directed into the slots to accomplish the lift. Calm seas are a must for this operation to succeed!

As the beams approach the platform legs, standby vessels position themselves to assist in directing the hooks into the slots, which are not clearly visible to VB 10,000 operators.

With the beams securely hooked into the legs of the topside, the main hoist winches begin to turn, and the lift is achieved.


By 11:30 AM, the 1,608-ton topside is free and clear.


A transport barge is maneuvered under the system to receive the topside. Note the steel supports that have been placed on the barge to hold the topside firmly in place during transit to a salvage yard.


By 4:00 in the afternoon the VB 10,000 is positioning itself over a second topside. The weather, fortunately, remains benign.


An hour later, this 1,170-ton topside has been lifted and the VB 10,000 is moving away from the jacket in preparation to receive a second transport barge. By the time this operation is complete, darkness has fallen. It’s been a good day. Will the weather hold for an attempt on the final topside tomorrow?


Early in the morning, the VB 10,000 is ready to go after the last of the three decks. The empty jackets of the first two are clearly visible. In fact, the reach the third topside, the VB 10,000needs to straddle the jacket of the first topside that was lifted.


The clearances of this last topside are close, and personnel are stationed on the helideck of the VB 10,000 to monitor carefully the approach.


Using the procedures of the first two lifts, by 11:30 the VB 10,000 has succeeded in lifting the third deck. At 1,756 tons, it is the largest of the three. This claw and beam rigging system used for the lifts is clearly displayed in this photo.


As the sea fastenings are applied to the final topside, the three empty jackets in the foreground are eloquent testimony to the efficiency and the reliability of Versabar’s VB 10,000.


By 3:00 PM the barge bearing the third and last topside is towed out from underneath the VB 10,000. In a total elapsed time of just 30 hours the VB 10,000 has successfully and safely recovered 4,534 tons of “idle iron” from the Gulf of Mexico. A remarkable feat made possible by dedicated personnel and a safe work ethic!







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