Pushing Boundaries

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In 2004, the heavy-lift ship MV Blue Marlin transported the Thunder Horse PDQ semi-submersible oil platform from South Korea to Texas. The trip took 63 days as the route took it around the Cape of Good Hope. The 60,000 ton Thunder Horse PDQ is the largest oil platform of its type and is moored in the deep waters of the Gulf of Mexico about 150 miles south of New Orleans. In 2005 it took a direct hit from Hurricane Dennis and listed 20 degrees. Considering it had been designed for a 100 year event, this was most unexpected. After an investigation, it was found that a pipe connecting ballast tanks had been installed incorrectly. Additional issues were discovered and repaired. A month later it took another direct hit from Hurricane Katrina and remained unscathed. The MV Blue Marlin is one of the largest semi-submersible heavy lift ships in the world. Launched in 1999, the 224.8 m long ship can submerge up to 16 m for float-on loading of large cargo. It has accommodations for up to 60 persons, a workout room, sauna, and swimming pool.

[Image Credit: ceskykorzar.cz via Dark Roasted Blend]