By 1947, drilling was begun in waters of the Gulf of Mexico over 40 miles off the coast of Louisiana. Rigs needed to be equipped with drilling mud, cement, water, spare components, groceries and folks, all of which required transport. Initially, surplus World War II vessels, picket fishing boats, shrimp trawlers, and oyster luggers have been used. Alden J. Laborde, visionary of the offshore drilling trade in Louisiana, realized that these vessels have been insufficient to fulfill the rising want of the offshore drilling trade. With a bunch of ten traders, he designed and constructed the primary purpose-built offshore provide vessel, Ebb Tide, for $225,000. The design of the vessel was bigger than the ex-Navy boats, with significantly extra energy. The Ebb Tide was 115 ft in size, with a beam of 31 ft and a draught of eight.5 ft. The wheelhouse, scavenged from an outdated tug was put in on a brief forecastle, leaving the complete after deck open for putting cargo that might be simply hoisted up by the rig’s crane tools. The provide boat entered service in 1956 for the newly shaped Tidewater Company and proved its price instantly. Ebb Tide was later adopted by three sister-ships, all owned by Tidewater. The introduction of the jackup rigs and later the semi-submersibles, required provide boats to develop new strategies and the configuration of the Ebb Tide proved splendid. The opening of the North Sea in 1966 imposed requirement on the design of these small ships to match an hostile atmosphere and growing water depths. The adaptable simplicity of the Ebb Tide was capitalized upon to fulfill these new challenges. (Source: Tidewater)
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