The Ocean Onyx drilling rig at anchorage

Article Date: 5/06/2020

If you are out and about on the western side of Port Phillip Bay this long weekend, 6 to 8 June 2020, you may be able to see the Ocean Onyx at anchor in the bay.

The Ocean Onyx is an offshore exploration drilling rig and is currently in one of the Port Phillip Bay anchorages. The anchorages are managed by Victorian Ports Corporation (Melbourne) (VPCM) and are continuously monitored by the VPCM Port Operations Control Centre.

The Ocean Onyx is a semi-submersible, column stabilised, mobile, offshore drilling unit, owned by the Diamond Offshore Services Company. She is anchored at 37° 58.727´S 144° 46.543´E.

She anchored there on 21 May 2020 after arriving in the bay on Thursday 15 April 2020 onboard the Blue Marlin semi-submersible heavy transport vessel. After float off from the Blue Marlin, and before arriving at her current position, the Ocean Onyx spent time at another anchorage location in the bay.  

The Ocean Onyx is expected to remain at anchor for an extended period. She is ‘cold stacked’, meaning she has a reduced crew onboard of approximately 35 people and is not operating.  

The term ‘cold stacked’ is used by the offshore exploration sector and is similar to the terms 'laid up' or 'in lay-up' commonly used in the maritime industry. 'Cold stacked' means that vessel is temporarily idle due to lack of cargo/passengers/work and is not undertaking commercial operations. Vessels in lay-up or laid up are normally manned, that is the crew is onboard and performing normal operations and maintenance tasks. This is the case with the Ocean Onyx
The Ocean Onyx has sufficient crew on board to:

  • maintain safe watch keeping either alongside or at anchor
  • respond to any emergency situations
  • comply with the VPCM Harbour Master’s Directions
  • comply with the international maritime codes of practice (ISM and ISPS).
The Ocean Onyx drilling rig at anchorage