saw an odd ship while flying

Discussion in 'All Things Boats & Boating' started by KarlH, Oct 27, 2018.

  1. KarlH
    Joined: Aug 2017
    Posts: 27
    Likes: 3, Points: 3
    Location: Minnesota

    KarlH Junior Member

    Three weeks ago I was flying in a commercial plane over the Gulf of Mexico and saw an oddly-shaped ship with a huge bow wave heading east about 40 km south of Gulfport Mississippi.

    Its deck was wide like an aircraft carrier, but did not appear to have the right type of superstructure, shape or any clutter. There appeared to be a superstructure at the stern (like a typical cargo ship), and the deck was flat and appeared separated into a small number of square sections by something that I couldn't identify. (They looked vaguely like the bin hatches on ore boats.)

    Once I was pretty sure that it wasn't a flattop, I thought "Why is a cargo ship going that fast?" It wasn't running from a storm - in fact, it was headed INTO a storm that my flight had diverted around. It also was too close to the US coast to be a poaching ship. I don't think that the bow wave was due to high seas because I saw nothing unusual on the reefs in the area.

    Any ideas about what it might have been?
  2. Yellowjacket
    Joined: May 2009
    Posts: 664
    Likes: 113, Points: 43, Legacy Rep: 447
    Location: Landlocked...

    Yellowjacket Senior Member

    If it was moving very fast it was most likely a "crew boat" or formally known as a Fast Support Vessel or FSV... FSV's are the shuttle buses of the offshore oil industry. FSVs are used primarily for their fast speed to convey passengers and also smaller cargoes that are urgently required. A typical FSV can carry 30 to 145 offshore workers and can travel at a speed of up to 40 knots. Their length varies from 33 to 66 meters and are designed to carry limited amounts of cargo. Time is money and these boats get out and back fast. Compared to a helicopter, they carry a lot more and are less expensive to run in terms of ton miles of cargo moved. When they need support items on an oil rig, they will pay a lot to get it fast as compared to shutting down a rig or having other problems. Oil rig workers are paid by the hour and it's a lot of money per person. If you're going to move 100 men out to an oil rig and are paying them $100 per hour, and the clock starts running when they leave the dock, the cost is 10,000/hour. It makes a lot of sense to have a boat that will get them to the rig in less than an hour, as opposed to 3 or 4 hours on a low speed boat.
  3. BlueBell
    Joined: May 2017
    Posts: 2,154
    Likes: 668, Points: 113
    Location: Victoria BC Canada

    BlueBell . . . . .

    Have you seen the new aircraft carriers?
    Could be.
    Or, you could try AIS but I don't know if you can access history.
    EDIT: Yellow is likely correct.

  4. KarlH
    Joined: Aug 2017
    Posts: 27
    Likes: 3, Points: 3
    Location: Minnesota

    KarlH Junior Member

    Thanks :)

    That makes a lot more sense, especially given the location. The only other thing that I had been able to think of was a helicopter carrier, but all of them have a typical flattop superstructure.
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