Semi-Submersible Vessels and its Use

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Semi Submersible Barges As the name suggests, semi-submersible barges have a capacity of going under the free water surface to a considerable extent. This is achieved by the presence of ballast tanks. These ballast tanks when filled with water lower the barges into water. On pumping out the water, the buoyancy of the vessel increases and the overall structure lifts above water. This kind of flexibility has led to semi-subs being used in various applications. The concept of semi submersibles has had takers from different fields. Semi-Submersibles have been used by the tourism industry to showcase the under-sea surface world to tourist. This usage tough is pretty limited. Major applications of the semi-submersibles have been in offshore drilling, under sea exploration and heavy lift applications. A rather unique application of the concept of semi-submersible vessels has come up in the field of drug trafficking, where Coast gaurds have nabbed semi-submersible vessels carrying drugs being smuggled in international waters. We shall study each of the application in details and the reason for the suitability of semi-submersibles in each case . Semi-Submersible Basics According to the definition of the term Semi-Submersible, as provided by Schlumberger Inc. “A particular type of floating vessel that is supported primarily on large pontoon-like structures submerged below the sea surface. The operating decks are elevated perhaps 100 or more feet above the pontoons on large steel columns. This design has the advantage of submerging most of the area of components in contact with the sea and minimizing loading from waves and wind. Semisubmersibles can operate in a wide range of water depths, including deep water. They are usually anchored with six to twelve anchors tethered by strong chains and wire cables, which are computer controlled to maintain stationkeeping.

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