Hornbeck Offshore Chief Mate Saves the Day

Rob Almeida
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December 21, 2010

Image: Helix Q4000 on location of MC 252 as it prepares for “Top Kill.” © 2010 BP p.l.c.

I met up with a friend recently who works as Chief Mate for Hornbeck Offshore.  He described a situation regarding one of his coworkers that I thought deserved recognition…

“The Centerline was working alongside Helix’ Q4000 providing the mud for BP’s top-kill attempt on the Macondo Well, and the Chief Mate, John Holesha, recognized that the Q4000’s engines had started revving up unexpectedly.  For one reason or another, the rig’s GPS system was telling the dynamic positioning system that it was in the wrong place and was now trying to correct itself as quickly as possible.”

The Q4000, however, was hooked up to the Macondo well’s BOP stack 5000 feet down on the sea floor.”

“Grab that reflector and get out to the bridge wing quick!”, John told the AB.

The Q4000 was now in imminent danger of severely damaging or destroying the subsea equipment that it was hooked up to, not to mention possibly colliding with one of the dozen ships in close proximity to her.

Q4000, Q4000, this is Centerline, switch over to Fanbeam-mode on your DP system immediately and reference off me, you’re driving off station”

The Q4000 then switched it’s DP reference system from GPS mode, to a mode that kept the rig on a relative bearing and range to the Centerline. Within seconds, the Q4000 was back on station and the crisis had been averted as quickly as it had developed.

Had it not been for the quick actions of Chief Mate John Holesha, catastrophe may likely have ensued resulting in significant delay to BP’s well kill operations and further environmental devastation.

Well done John!

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