Monarch on the move

Wanneroo Times - - News - Lau­ren Pi­lat

THE oil­rig an­chored be­tween City Beach and Rot­tnest Is­land will no longer dis­rupt sun­set views along the coast af­ter it em­barks on its jour­ney east this week.

Ocean Monarch, which fea­tured in a Hol­ly­wood block­buster, has been a fixed fea­ture of the Perth coast­line since late last year when it was an­chored about 9km from Fre­man­tle Port.

Moored by eight an­chors, each weigh­ing 15 tonnes, Ocean Monarch is set to em­bark from WA wa­ters noon on Fe­bru­ary 22 be­fore reach­ing a port in Gee­long ahead of sched­uled work in March for Cooper En­ergy in Bass Strait.

It was orig­i­nally ex­pected the rig would be in Perth wa­ters for about 30 days but has in­stead been an­chored off­shore for about four months.

The 21,000-tonne rig, owned by US drilling com­pany Di­a­mond Off­shore, had been work­ing for BHP in the North-West be­fore es­cap­ing the cy­clone sea­son to un­dergo main­te­nance while an­chored in Perth’s wa­ters.

For­eign De­fence Min­is­ter Julie Bishop was on board the 1974-built semi-sub­mersible rig this month for an en­ergy mar­ket brief­ing, where she took self­ies and cel­e­brated the open­ing of 800 jobs in lo­cal rig op­er­a­tions.

The rig, which fea­tured in 1998 ac­tion movie Ar­maged­don star­ring Bruce Willis, was at the cen­tre of ac­cu­sa­tions early last year that its op­er­a­tors were us­ing a ros­ter al­low­ing crew to be in Aus­tralia less than the 183 days re­quired to pay tax.

The 107m x 101m rig was up­graded in 2008 and can drill to dis­tances of 10,668m and op­er­ate in wa­ter up to 3048m deep.

Di­a­mond Off­shore in­vestor re­la­tions Don Murch­land said the rig was sched­uled to be avail­able to com­mence be­tween Fe­bru­ary and May.

“Ar­range­ments and move­ments prior to those dates are out­side the scope of our con­trac­tual ar­range­ment,” he said.

The Times con­tacted Cooper En­ergy for com­ment.

Pic­ture: DTM Pro­duc­tions

Ocean Monarch oil rig has been an­chored off the Perth coast since Novem­ber.

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