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GSF Britannia
Oil Rig Photos
No: 2514   Contributor: Mark Cooper   Year: 2011   Country: United Kingdom
GSF Britannia

Stacked in Hartlepool, UK, awaiting a refit to start in Q4 2011 before going to Germany. 26/09/2011
Picture added on 29 September 2011 at 16:22
add commentComments:

Added by Ionut on 11 October 2011.
This rig has to be one of the most incredible success stories in offshore drilling history, since the minute it was purchased by Santa Fe it has seldom experience any idle time, it's a tribute to the UK crews manning and managing it.

Added by Steve Whittington on 09 January 2012.
Hi Steve,
I've just came across your comments, I worked on the old girl from 1969 to 1973 & what a brilliant time we had.
Thanks for the pic, it most certainly brought back good memories of that time.

Added by Trev Young on 24 February 2015.
Trev, good to hear. I'm an American currently in Dallas. The performance of the company in the North Sea is what made Santa Fe what it was and the performance of the Britannia was critical to that performance. As old as the rig was its sucess amazed everyone in the company.

Added by on 26 February 2015.
His Steve,
I believe the old girl has now been scrapped, like I said I started my oilfield life on her in 1969 as a roustabout & left for Libya still with Santa Fe as an asst driller in 1973. Did you work on her ?
I have now just retired from the oil patch after a fantastic career for over 40 odd years.
All the best to you.

Added by Trev Young on 26 February 2015.
I'm actually an accountant that spent much time working for the Aberdeen and Edinbourgh {construction} offices. During the late 1980s virtually every new contract in North Sea meant a trip to the shipyard (Rotterdam) and I spent a couple of years in Rotterdam as the admin person for these rig mods. But anyone who has a history with Santa Fe has deep admiration for that vessel. You probably know that it was engineered, built, and manned by and in the UK. Santa Fe acquired NORSMEC (North Sea Marine Engineering Comp)in 1968 and the Britannia was still under construction at the acquistition so you had to be amoung the first to make that vessel tick. As you can tell, I have worked with and for a great many Brits in my career and have a great admiration for all of you.

Cheers mate

Added by on 26 February 2015.
Just noticed that I spelled Edinburgh incorrectly.

Added by on 26 February 2015.
Hi Steve,
Thanks for those kind words, I think we were the first to Drill the first Well on the old girl. (The Operator was Conoco if my memory serves me right)
Most of the senior staff (Rig Superintendents, Toolpusher's, Drillers "etc') were from the USA & what a great bunch they were, in-fact I learnt my trade so to speak from them.
I hope you had a great time in Amsterdam.....I certainly did in those days !

Added by Trev Young on 05 March 2015.
worked on her off Beckels. Cracking folk on her. early 90's

Added by Brian Wyllie on 05 July 2015.
Had 10 years on there as part of Robbie Robinsons drill crew, remember Brian well, and Steve racher who was a fantastic worker.

Added by Glyn white-Phillips on 25 July 2015.
From Keith Grand worked for supply co EAE group in Gt Yarmouth Santa fe worked out of old South Town railway station remember jrn Meeks Howard Young blood .Tom Cold well from Ireland chief electrics many more .my boss was Francis Holmes regards

Added by Keith Grand on 16 September 2016.
I hear the old girl is in the far east right now how true that is I don't, I started work on Britannia in 1970 worked as rousty then to roughneck left for a couple of years to work on rig 82 also for Santa-Fe returned to Brit in 73 working derricks then over the years progressed to snr toolpusher thru out my working days I worked on several of Santa-Fe rigs till I retired at 56 some 14 years ago I remember Trev Young he worked for Dave Smith as so did I.

Added by Tommy Middleton on 05 October 2016.
She is in Bass Straights converted to a MOPU for Hibiscus (I was doing some work in Oz and as soon as they showed me the picture she was recognisable)
I was one of the SF Engineers mostly in GY portacabins and had the pleasure of working with many good mentors during mid-90's including Billy Richardson, Dave Smith and JK. Also Tommy from time to time!

Added by Kris Johnstone on 03 February 2017.
Hi Kris I remember you hope you are doing ok so the old girl is still alive it is good to know have you seen out of Billy boy last I heard he was living in America if you hear out let us know D.Smith is living in Spain about 2 hrs south of Alicanti any way you take care good to hear from you.

Added by Tommy Middleton on 04 February 2017.
Poor old girl scrapped now. I was on Dave Smiths crew as well. I recognise a few names on this thread

Added by Eddie Mcwilliams on 14 June 2017.
I worked on the Britannia 71 -72 ... some names come to mind Dave Smith, Buddy Russel, Stan McGee, David Lock, Mick Wigan, Jake (motorman) Neil Lace among many others.. We worked out of Holland for a couple of wells then Denmark.
I will never forget my time on the old girl .. on reflection the best time of my oilfield life.... 46 years now!

Added by Doug Reid on 23 October 2017.
tommy middleton and eddie mcwilliams last I heard of them was in the east yorkshire gazette they were under caution for sheep worrying
Appy Daze

Added by Roger Pocock on 24 November 2017.
I spent a happy and successful year (?1975/6?) mudlogging on the Britannia (NAM). Great crews and supervisors, never forget that great working team. Does anyone else remember when the Dutch military team in zodiacs took over the rig as an anti-terrorist exercise ? Best wishes to all, including Tommy the shaker hand !

Added by Tom Fraser on 28 January 2018.
Spent a few years roghnecking in 90s on robinson's crew with john driscal and hutchy. Great memories apart from the varco iron roughneck nearly taking me out..😂

Added by Timothy Taylor on 05 May 2018.
John "Jibby" was his nickname in the early days. This stemmed from ever crane signal he gave started with his thumb up or down (thumb meant you wanted the crane op to do something with the jib). I remember he was always sparring and any job you gave him was treated as training for his boxing career

Added by Edie McWilliams on 09 May 2018.
First worked on the old girl in 1969 and then from 1981 to 2010. So I remember fondly most of the names above. Luckily I became very accomplished in welding rust, so she kept me in work all those years.

Added by Ron Lesslie on 16 August 2018.
I worked on Britannia 50 years ago. I shot blasted the whole of the deck. (Not true actually, but it felt like it). I was a student and the company always let me on during vacations. Roy (I think) in the office usually said I would have to work in the yard until there was a vacancy on the rig, but I never did once and always got straight on. I remember Buddy Russell, the Toolpusher, and Gordon, Jakey Mills, Taffy Mcgee, London John. My brother was a welder on there at the same time before going to Nigeria to earn his fortune.

Added by Peter Crowe on 22 August 2018.
I remember the 2 Crowes arguing over their shares of their fathers phone bill. Also I think the welder was driving a racing car sponsored by a hairy paint company
Appy daze

Added by Roger Pocock on 23 August 2018.
Mr Pocock, what are you up to these days?

Added by Edie McWiliams on 24 August 2018.
Ello Eddie
I am running a creche for fallen ladies and sometimes help out with the piano playing etc.
Appy Daze

Added by Roger Pocock on 29 August 2018.
Bit of a social worker then Roger? Just done my very last survival refresher yesterday (long story but my mate needed someone short notice). Certainly a whole lot different from the old hand held box in a swimming pool days.

Added by Eddie McWiliams on 01 September 2018.
These are certainly names from the pass, I worked on Britannia and most of Santa fe North Sea rigs, retired about 15 years ago and remember some good times, what is Jimmy the whip doing now.

Added by Jamie Perks on 15 October 2018.
These names are blasts from the past good to see Taffy McGee is still remembered what is he doing now?

Added by Jamie Perks on 15 October 2018.
Hi All these name bring back happy memories from the past, I worked on her for several years before going over to Angola on the Choctaw. Sad if the Brit is now scrapped.

Added by Carl Butcher on 08 November 2018.
So many good times and memories, Anyone know what Peter Lord is up to now?

Added by Carl Butcher on 09 November 2018.
Jamie, Taffy McGhee passed-away a long time ago. Malcolm Plane told me.

Added by Eddie McWilliams on 15 November 2018.
If any of you are on Facebook then there are a lot of the old guys on The "Santa Fe Drilling" group. There is also a Santa Fe Alumni group as well which includes a lot of International members from Santa Fe.

Added by Eddie McWilliams on 15 November 2018.
This was from Stuart Martin on September 2 - GSP of Romania bought the fig for about 2 mill & then sorted it out. She will never drill again but went int0 the gulf as an accommodation rig for a cool 23 mill.

Added by Eddie McWilliams on 15 November 2018.
Well Jamie I am all most certain taffy is no longer above ground and regards Pete Lord I hear he his not a well man don't know if he has Dem or Alz and I see Roger still as a sense of you no what also did you know Alan Roberts had passed away sorry for the doom and gloom.

Added by Tommy Middleton on 15 November 2018.
Sorry to hear about Alan Roberts and Peter Lord. Rigs can be lumps of old rusty steel, but its the crews and characters on them, that make them happy places to work.

Added by Ron Lesslie on 16 November 2018.
yes I heard about Alan I used to go to watch Norwich city with him and Bob Holmes, don't know how Pete Lords is doing

Added by Jamie Perks on 16 November 2018.
Hi Eddie, am just back from Bangladesh...this time my retirement is going to be permanent !!
It's great to read the comments from the ex Britannia hands & was wondering if anyone knew what became of Peter (Paddy) Duggan.
I didn't know about the Facebook Santa Fe group & Alumni group so will check them out.
I know i'm bloody early but would like to wish all you ex Santa Fe hands a Merry Xmas & all the best for 2019.

Added by Trev Young on 16 November 2018.
Ronnie I also heard that Terry Brown is fighting brain cancer right now also don't know if u new Dick Minns x welder from Monarch poor guy is in nappies 24/7 cant stop peaing his self.

Added by Tommy Middleton on 17 November 2018.
Correct Tommy, there was a photo on the SF facebook page and he did not look so good.

Added by Eddie McWilliams on 20 November 2018.
Yes. What happened to Paddy Duggan? Wasn`t he the Irish guy training to be a doctor. He worked as a roughneck on Britannia when I was there.

Added by Peter Crowe on 20 November 2018.
Last time I saw Paddy, he was working for a service company and he came out to the Magellan off Aberdeen. If I remember correctly, he sat his Doctor's exam but just failed it and decided the cash on the rigs was too good to give up so he did not re-sit. I also heard he had a go at jockey and raced in the Grand National but I thought he was a bit tall for that. Paddy, Spaghetti and Costas had many an argument on the Brit

Added by Eddie McWilliams on 21 November 2018.
All the North Sea Tigers teeth are falling out. I seem to Remember that Paddy Duggan rode in the Grand National in the early 70, s but I may be wrong , It may have been me, whoever I am.

Appy Daze

Added by Roger Pocock on 21 November 2018.
The last time I saw Pete Duggan was 1975..he was a Driller on Ekofisk.

Added by Doug Reid on 21 November 2018.
Costas, There was a character, Glad you are keeping well Eddie.

Added by Carl Butcher on 22 November 2018.
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