25 June 2020
Clément Toupin, Lieutenant
1/ What has been your career path so far? Could you tell us more about your role on board ILE D’OUESSANT?
After preparatory class, I studied at the “Hydro” school (French Maritime Academy) in Marseille and Nantes between 2010 and 2017. I embarked on various LDA ships during this time (bulk carriers, ro-ro, cable ships), first as a student, then as a lieutenant. After my 5th year, I started to work on cable ships only, mainly in South East Asia.
I am now one of the 3 lieutenants on board ILE D'OUESSANT. My role consists in keeping watch on the deck when the ship is in transit, as well as managing various departments (navigation, safety, etc.). When the ship is in operation, we take turns as DP (Dynamic Positioning) operators for a period of 12 hours. The position and course of the ship must be controlled very accurately. When the ship is docked, we manage various duties related to the stopover (delivery of equipment, crew changes, commercial operations, etc.).
2/ What do you think of this new ASN ship operated by Louis Dreyfus Armateurs (concept, equipment, future operations, fleet, etc.)?
The conversion of a supply vessel into a cable ship is a good thing for DP operators. The ship is DP2-classified, which means she has redundancy in several areas; this makes it much safer during operations because the loss of equipment will not result in loss of position. With two propeller shafts and four propellers, the ship is manœuverable and responsive. She has other positioning systems that cannot always be found on other ships: a fan beam and a beacon launching system from the bow through a gantry.
From the DP station, the operator has a clear view of the deck, which makes for better supervision of the operations and their progress.
The ship is well equipped, especially for repair works. The two cable machines, two tugger winches and wide deck make for simpler and safer handling of the cable and ropes. The underwater robot’s gantry and its self-supporting umbilical cable allow for rapid launching. Much less staff is involved in these risky operations, which is another good point.
What makes this ship special, however, is a 49-ton offshore crane. It will be interesting to see what potential future operations it may be involved in.
3/ What will you take away from this great conversion project? Any anecdote or major fact?
Participating in the handling of a ship, even belatedly - I embarked on the ILE D'OUESSANT well after the technical stop in Poland - is an enriching process. There are still many things to implement and to polish. We are all trying to bring in the experience gained from working on other vessels and other cable ships.