The Crazy Claymore
“Claymore. I’ve heard of that...” I thought, looking at my email.
My first trip back to work after the dizzy success of Licanke, was to a big and well known North Sea asset, the Claymore Alpha.
Claymore was involved in the demise of the ill-fated Piper Alpha and continued to pump oil to the stricken platform while she burned.
A dark history, but it fascinated me nonetheless and I was slightly perturbed by the comments I received from several people about heading out to the platform.
“Claymore? Oohh, you don’t want to go there....”
“Off to Claymore are you? Oh, right...”
Lots of teeth-sucking seemed to be triggered by the word ‘Claymore’ and I wondered exactly which pack of wolves I was about to be fed to.
I landed on the helideck and was given a long and very safety orientated induction.
Martyn, the existing medic was remaining on board while he learned the ropes for the HSE role on another Repsol asset. This was convenient, as it was considered you needed 10 years offshore experience before taking on something like the Claymore on your own. I was pleased he was on board.
Helicopter landing on the Claymore
Claymore was busy with 240 people to look out for and there was a waiting room with at least half a dozen customers to see before morning coffee break.
The gym was huge and superb and I made good use of it.
The food was also excellent. Saturday Steak night (cooked to order, for your liking) was closely followed by a Sunday roast and possibly the best apple crumble and custard in the world.
Usually by 9am my sides were hurting with laughter about one thing or another and it started to feel like home.
Many of the guys had been with Claymore longer than they had been with their wives.
The platform was friendly and day by day, I gained more and more experience and ventured further outside my comfort zone.
Martyn was a godsend and he worked hard to bring me up to speed with how things ran on the Claymore. He was infectiously enthusiastic and I lapped it up, relishing the learning opportunities that came my way and my CV started to grow.
After just over 2 weeks, I was notified that I had been asked back by the OIM (the rig boss) to cover a full 3 week stint later that summer.
After 3 weeks off, I returned and was welcomed like an old friend.
After 2 weeks, Martyn was off to the Auk, a smaller neighbouring platform to start his HSE role. I was left on my own as the sole medic on Claymore after only 2 years offshore. Either I was doing something right or they were desperate!
I was doing full inductions on my own as well as running the huge sick bay and doing the water testing.
It was a mental week with several challenges thrown my way, but I loved it and looked forward to getting up every morning for work. It was so different to working on the ambulances.
I was sad to leave the Claymore but she had given me a huge wealth of experience and a huge confidence boost.
I asked Martyn one day, after a particularly ridiculous morning: “Does it get any bigger than this?”
“No” he said. “If you can handle Claymore, you can handle anything”.