After a few days leave I joined the Venture Service in Great Yarmouth on 12-01-1981. Offshore Marine Ltd. had been taken over by the American Zapata Marine company and already management and crewing were being mixed so I was the first OM captain on this vessel.
Modified to be a fire fighting vessel for the southern North Sea and also a regular supply ship for Conoco’s Viking Gas field this ship was a departure from what I was used to. Built to the lower American standards relating to the accommodation I needed to adjust as I was going to be onboard for quite some time as the ship had a long term charter.
Sailing at midnight on Tuesdays and Fridays and back in port late the following afternoon, all being well, the work was easy enough. However, despite it being the fire fighting vessel for the region with a thirty minute call out time Conoco saw no reason why it could’t become a dive ship for air diving around their platforms. So in the late spring the ship embarked a team of divers and all their equipment and became rather cramped. We were now spending most of the time at sea during the diving season which continued the next year as well.
In all, I completed twenty two tours on the Venture Service in almost four years and eventually left 23-10-1984 when I left the company to join Sealion Shipping.
It had been good for me being in Great Yarmouth and close to home, able to spend a couple of nights at home each week while the children were growing up. Eventually I became disillusioned with Zapata Marine and knew it was time to move on. Luckily I didn’t have to look far as Conoco chartered in the TNT Panther from Sealion Shipping and that ship needed a new captain.