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the Zapata Investigator
Oil Rig Photos
No: 3103   Contributor:   Year: 2017   Country: Singapore
the Zapata Investigator

The Ivestigator laid up in Singapore's Jurong harbour after working in the gulf of Thailand in 1975. The picture was taken in November 1975
Picture added on 13 January 2017 at 11:08
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I was rig mechanic when I japan worked in rig for 2 years until I left after working in Thailand worked in Philippines new Guninea, I was stationed in Singapore

Added by Ronnie Chadwell on 14 September 2017.
Ronnie,
I worked as rig electrician on the Zapata Navigator 70-73 for three years from Darwin and Perth. Ron Marks was my opposite and he had worked on the Investigator previously. I remember several guys being Toolpushers "Lightening Elliot" (he had many funny sayings), Gordon Wallace, ( a very decent guy whom I liked very much) Don York ( a good guy as well). Rig Managers Wayne Callan, Jack McGuffin ( Very strange fellow with light fingers) Driilers, Ron Parks, John Dunford, Both rigs were very basic compared to today's rigs and they were hard work and you had to be young and dumb to stick around but it was enjoyable.

Added by John Hansen on 01 January 2018.
Ronnie & John,
Good to read your comments, I posted the photo, they were interesting times back in 75, always interesting to hear the stories from back then, I seem to recall Ron Parks, not sure, do either of you remember Jim Madge(not many fingers left) or the Petherbridge brothers?

Added by Nick De St. Croix on 02 March 2018.
Nick, I remember Noel Petherbridge well from the Zapata Navigator. His son later worked on rigs as a Mechanic with Diamond and possibly just retired. There was Jack Hird a roughneck who stayed with Zapata and later Diamond to become a Rig Manager. I last saw him in Brazil about 2009. There was Ken Fox who was on the Navigator as Motorman and later became a Subsea Engineer. Roy Reverly was also a driller on the Navigator and he later worked for Atwoods. Also another roughneck was Phil Langhorne who became a Rig Manager for Reading &Bates. Bob Gardner was also worked on the Investigator and later as Manager with Reading & Bates. I was on the Navigator working out of Darwin when a roughneck John Dudfield "Seaweed" had a bad accident. They were running casing and John was on the middle board guiding the casing and using rope to spin it in when his arm was caught by the rope and pulled around the casing. John's arm was badly broken and this happened just after evening meal. They tried calling for a chopper to come out and take him to hospital but the mob in town said they would only fly at night if it was life or death. So John had to endure the night on the rig in bad pain. They put him in Toolpusher "Six" Schufflers bunk and when they tried to give him morphine they could not open the safe with the combination they had. So they had to cut the safe open with the Gas Axe. John was off for a long time and eventually came back to the Naivagator as a motorman. His arm had been fixed with pins and a plate. John "Seaweed" was a nice guy but also wild when onshore. The last I heard from him was when he worked on the Regional Endeavor as Storeman whilst it was converted in Newcastle. A short time later he was killed up in Thailand. I have a great photo of him on the drill floor of the Navigator when we were in the Keppel Shipyard in Singapore. When in Darwin we had a Canadian Driller named Max. He bought a brand new Valiant Charger. Can't think f his last name.
The Navigator drilling controls were not the usual EMD type but a combination of their equipment. It was developed by Jim Choetes of M&I in Texas. The Drawworks motors were DC shunt 752 motors and Jim had them wired in Parallel which was not normal as they always used them in Series because in parallel they could not be run with seperate fields as they would flashover if one motor started to act as a generator. Jim was a clever guy. Our first problem with this system occurred when one of the Drawworks motors shrink fit coupling became loose and so the motors would flashover and damage the commutators. Zapata called up an Electrical Enginnering firm (Forbes, Smith, Guy and Woolstonholme) in Sydney to sort out the flashing over of the motors and they said straight away that Jim Choates method was against normal DC Motor control at that time and so had us connect the motors up in Series. This then slowed down the motors and the operation of the Drawworks. Later Jim Choates was flown out fro Texas and he was adamant that he had developed a system that worked. He was correct and once the looses shrink fit coupling was secured he balanced up the system and it worked fine running the motors in parallel with seperate motor fields. A long story but it was a learning curve for me as a young rig electrician.
We have Universal Caterers on the Navigator and they made their own ice-cream. Years later one of the gally hands told me he would never eat the ice-cream as I did because a galley hand Bob Smith used to make it in the mixer with a cigarette bumper in his mouth as well as dribble into the ice-cream mixer. Bob was older and not in good shape.
Another accident happened on board when Jack Hird was using a gas axe to cut the top from a 44 gallon drum. The thing exploded and sat Jack on his arse with metal splitters up his chest. He recovered ok.
When first going to the Navigator in 1969 we used to land on the Sedco 135G rig which was drilling the relief well to try and plag the Petrel well that had blown out about 18 months earlier. I remember seeing "Boots"Hansen fro Red Adairs Well Control mob there and they had Haliburton pumps all over the pipe deck. The Sedco 136G was like a floating hotel compared to the Zapata Navigator.
Hope you enjoy the writing. Was a great to be working in the Oil Patch during that period.

Added by John Hansen. on 07 March 2018.
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