Big Orange says bon voyage to Montrose

The marine crew are pictured with the vessel.
The marine crew are pictured with the vessel.

For 32 years the Big Orange XVIII offshore supply ship has been based at Montrose port, but today she and her crew said bon voyage to the Angus town.

The ship, which was orange in her early days but is now blue, departed from Montrose today (Tuesday) and set sail for her new base in Esbjerg, Denmark.

Big Orange XVIII is a DP2 well stimulation vessel. She was built in 1984 and her gross tonnage is 3719 tons.

Mike Burleigh, honorary chaplain of the Sailors’ Society, said: “Back in those early days she was indeed a ‘Big Orange’ coloured ship and then, as now and always, beautifully well-presented with tidy paintwork and a highly organized and focused crew.”

In February, Filipino seafarers from several oil support ships, which were wintering in Montrose, took part in a basketball tournament.

Carol singers from Montrose churches also sang beside the ships in the port to welcome the Filipinos to Scotland during the festive period.

Mr Burleigh continued: “Big Orange has always been at the centre of these events, carol singers themselves being entertained aboard the ‘Big O’ with Filipino carols and hospitality in the ship’s messroom.

“How is it she has been here for so many years when other ships come and go?

“The shore side specialist equipment was located here in Montrose Port to support North Sea oil field exploration, development and maintenance.

“Oil companies have called upon the specialist expertise and equipment of this ship to maintain oil flows during that time but for the next year or so she will be operating out of Esbjerg in Denmark with perhaps, we hope, some occasional visits to Montrose.

“Eymart, the chief mate, spoke of his appreciation for all the help and support his mainly Filipino marine crew have received from the Sailors’ Society port chaplain Peter Donald over these years, ranging from Christmas gift parcels for those Filipino seafarers away from home and families, to transport, trips to historic monuments, help with special purchases, visits to church and prayerful support for individuals during times of difficulty, loss and family bereavement.”