Zapata Commissions Latest Of Workboats Supporting Atlantic Coast Exploration

The Pioneer Service, latest of six sophisticated tug/supply vessels built for operation by Zapata Marine Service, Inc. on America's ocean frontiers, was commissioned on November 18 at Davisville, R.I.

in special ceremonies. This 5,750- horsepower vessel is one of five sister ships now based in Rhode Island.

A crowd of spectators, representing Rhode Island's leading citizens and the oil industry, watched as the vessel's sponsor Mrs. Paul L. Kelly smashed the traditional champagne bottle on the bow of the Pioneer Service to officially christen the new 207- foot tug/supply vessel. Other elements in the colorful ceremonies were the replica sloop-of-war Providence, and a Coast Guard fire boat, which saluted the vessel, and the Kentish Guards of North Kingstown, garbed in Revolutionary War uniforms, who provided martial music and acted as color guards.

Rhode Island's U.S. Senator John H. Chafee was principal speaker at the ceremonies. Other remarks were given by Ronald C. Lassiter, president of Houston, Texas-based Zapata Corporation, and Scott Eubanks, director of Rhode Island's Department of Economic Development, who appeared on behalf of Governor J. Joseph Garrahy. Kenneth W.

Waldorf, president of Zapata Marine Service, was master of ceremonies.

The vessel's sponsor, Mrs.

Kelly, read a poem she had written to honor the Pioneer Service, and Miss Jenny Ventura Byrd of East Greenwich, R.I., served as maid of honor.

Built by Campbell Industries, San Diego, Calif., the Pioneer Service, and her sister vessels have been completed over the past two years, and represent an investment of about $5.5 million each. They were specifically designed for work in frontier waters of the U.S. Outer Continental Shelf, providing the ultimate in operating e f f i c i e n c y under the most demanding conditions.

The Pioneer Service joins its sister vessel Liberty Service in awaiting commencement of further operations in the Baltimore Canyon. Three other vessels in the class are now supporting drilling operations there. The Constitution Service and Independence Service, part of the initial contingent of marine service vessels to arrive in Davisville in March 1978, are now contracted to Gulf Oil Corporation, in support of the semisubmersible New Era. The Freedom Service, which began operations in June, is under contract to Mobil Oil Corporation in support of the semisubmersible Pacesetter III. Zapata Marine Service currently employs about 100 people in its Baltimore Canyon operations, of whom 40 percent are from New England.

This month, the Zapata Marine Service vessels will be joined by the giant semisubmersible rig Zapata Ugland, which is being mobilized from the North Sea to the Baltimore Canyon area, where it will work for Tenneco Oil Company.

Built in 1974, the semisubmersible will be the largest offshore drilling rig working on the U.S. Atlantic Coast. It is operated by Zapata Off-Shore Company.

The addition of the Pioneer Service brings to 48 the number of vessels in the worldwide fleet of Zapata Marine Service, Inc.

Forty-one of these are tug/supply vessels ranging from 2,000 to more than 7,000 horsepower. Zapata's fleet transports supplies, equipment and crews; tows rigs, handles anchors, hauls pipe and supports construction. In addition to the U.S., present operations include waters of 10 countries in the North Sea, offshore West Africa, the Middle East, South America, and Southeast Asia. The company has worked in waters of more than 50 countries since it began in the mid-1950s.

Features of the Pioneer Service include outstanding bollard pull, top speed in excess of 15 knots and cruising speed over 13 knots, and equipment for handling 20-ton anchors and related chain under inclement deepwater conditions.

Also, the vessel has maximum maneuverability through the use of its controllable-pitch propellers and 400-hp bow thrusters, and maximum stability in rough seas and while handling anchors.

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Powered by two EMD 16-645E70 diesels, the new vessel's principal dimensions are: overall length, 207 feet 4 inches; beam (width), 40 feet; and draft (maximum load) 16 feet 8 inches.

Its ample cargo capacity, with rapid pumping units, permits versatile operation on long supply runs. The vessel has a crew of 10, control and tank ;ty of materials, problem you may npact single level 1950 is fabricated iquids at higher and can accommodate 14 additional passengers.

Zapata Marine Service, Inc. is a wholly owned subsidiary of Zapata Corporation, a Houston, Texas-based d i v e r s i f i e d natural resources company. In addition to marine services and offshore drilling, Zapata's businesses include petroleum exploration, bulk shipping; menhaden, anchovy and tuna fishing; coal and copper mining and construction and dredging.

Zapata is unique among companies in the offshore oil industry in that it also has a full range of fishing operations, which date back to a menhaden fishing business established in the Chesapeake Bay area over 100 years ago.

Among honored guests at the commissioning ceremonies were: the Honorable John H. Chafee, U.S. Senator (D-R.I.) ; Scott Eubanks, director of the Rhode Island Department of Economic Development, and Mrs. Eubanks; Gordon Byrd, director of the Business and Industry Division of the Department of Economic Development, Mrs. Byrd, and daughter Jenny Ventura Byrd, the maid of honor; and a number of officials from the Providence and North Kingstown areas.

Key Zapata representatives included : Ronald C. Lassiter, president and chief operating officer, Zapata Corporation, and Mrs. Lassiter; Robert B. Wall, executive vice president and chief financial officer, Zapata Corporation; Paul L. Kelly, senior vice presidentcorporate affairs, Zapata Corporation, and Mrs. Kelly, the vessel's sponsor; Kenneth W. Waldorf, president of Zapata Marine Service, Inc., and Mrs. Waldorf. Other Zapata representatives included C.D. Summitt, vice presidentmarketing of Zapata Marine Service, Inc.; and Tony Pontillo, shorebase manager of Zapata Marine's Davisville operations, and Mrs. Pontillo.

Maritime Reporter Magazine, page 37,  Dec 15, 1978

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