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Bisso Raises Falcon Rig

The derrick barges

The derrick barges "Lili Bisso" and "Cairo" and crane "Big Chief" work together to right the rig.

On August 15, 2000, R&B’s Falcon Rig 55 overturned in Block 52 of Main Pass in Breton Sound, Gulf of Mexico. It took Bisso Marine 31 days to raise the vessel, including six days of downtime for inclement weather.

When salvage crews arrived at the scene, the vessel was at a 72-degree angle on her starboard side with the hull settled 22 feet into the natural bottom. The upper level drill floor had penetrated eight feet below the mudline.

After a complete survey of the situation, the company planned for divers to hand jet four-foot-wide tunnels under the vessel. 100-foot steel straps were pulled under the vessel and used to upright the rig. Several compartments along the port side were used as leverage and repairs were made at the deck gunwale along the inside of the Key Way where the well head had breached the hull.

Bisso’s 600-ton derrick barge Lili Bisso and 350-ton derrick barge Cairo, and revolving crane Big Chief were secured to the lifting straps and the vessel brought to a 45 degree angle. Pumps were applied to the rig to remove an additional 300 tons of water and bring the vessel to an upright position. The 700-ton derrick barge Cappy Bisso was attached to the starboard side to prevent the vessel from overturning. Salvage personnel brought the bow of the rig up to five feet of freeboard and the derricks held the stern at four feet.


Seas had increased to four to six feet, so additional tugs were brought to location to assist in towing the vessel to Bollinger Ship Repair in the Industrial Canal on September 21, 2000.


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