DXCC & Offshore Oil Platforms

Discussion in 'Amateur Radio News' started by Guest, May 28, 2001.

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  1. Guest

    Guest Guest

    My name is Martin Lewis, I'm 31 years old and my home call is MW0BRO (Wales). My profession is a Radio Operator on oil rigs. I've been operating from them ever since I got my licence in 1998. I started work on a new rig in February 2000 offshore Bioko Island, Equatorial Guinea. Bureaucracy dictated that I did not get my 3C5J callsign until just recently over 1 year later.

    Editor's Note: Please see attached poll.

    It is my opinion that the platform I am on should be counted as part of 3C for DXCC purposes as it is 3C for every other reason you could think of, law, geography etc. The ARRL/DXCC have said it does not, but I do not feel that they have given proper consideration to the facts.

    My reasoning why it should count is as follows. There are 3 main different types of oil rigs :

    1. Jack-up Drilling Rig - this is a MODU (Mobile Offshore Drilling Unit) which is registered as a ship and is supported by usually 3 legs which can be raised and lowered to allow the rig to move from one location to another i.e. Maritime Mobile.

    2. Semi-submersible Drilling Rig - this is also a MODU and is also registered as a ship. As the name suggest though, it is what is known as a 'floater' as it is semi-submersed and floats on the water and is held in place by usually 8 anchors which again can be pulled back to the rig so the rig can move to another location i.e. Maritime Mobile.

    3. Production platform - after a 'jack-up' or a 'semi' has drilled some wells and made an oil or gas discovery a 'production platform' is built on the spot to produce the hydrocarbons. This platform once in place cannot be moved. It is permanently secured deep into the seabed and once there is there to stay i.e. NOT Maritime Mobile

    In the UK license, Maritime Mobile is described as 'when operating from any vessel at sea'. A fixed production platform is a building housing 150 people sometimes more on bigger platforms, at one time and is definitely not a vessel floating on the sea.

    I fly from London to Zurich and Zurich to Malabo on the island of Bioko, Malabo being the capital of Equatorial Guinea. From there it is a 20 minute helicopter ride to 3C's biggest oil producing platform where I am based.

    I have a valid 3C ham license and am not Maritime Mobile. It seems I am stuck in a no man's land somewhere in between.

    I have operated from 'jack-ups' and 'semis' and always signed /MM but not from here.

    Lots of people seem to have an opinion on this one. Indeed, the ARRL themselves actually have exceptions for 'docked historical ships / museums' so I believe that if a docked ship counts as part of the country then so should a fixed oil platform.

    I am aware of the controversy surrounding the initial operations from Scarborough Reef. That tiny rock counts as a country on it's own!! Yet a massive structure like my platform does not even count towards DXCC for the country to which it belongs!

    I will have no personal gain from being accepted by the DXCC as valid. I just want to clear up the point, obviously in my favor, so that stations working me will not be disappointed when it comes to claiming awards.

    I have made the current situation clear to the stations that I work, via QSO and info on my website but I would still be most interested to see the results of a poll via QRZ.com.

    More detailed information on the different types of rigs can be found on my website http://www.cleddau.com and clicking on the OILRIGS button.


    Martin Lewis - 3C5J
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