Residents wowed as massive 'jack-up rig' spotted being moved off St Annes coast

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Residents were amazed to see a massive 'jack-up rig' being moved by two tug boats off the coast of St Annes.

Two tugboats were spotted moving a huge jack-up rig on Monday morning (January 15).

It is believed the rig - a barge fitted with long support legs that can be raised or lowered - was heading towards Southport.

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Some residents speculated it was the Valaris Norway, while others suggested it was the Rowan Stavanger.

Residents were amazed to see a massive 'jack-up rig' being moved off the coast of St Annes (Credit: Relax St Annes on Sea)Residents were amazed to see a massive 'jack-up rig' being moved off the coast of St Annes (Credit: Relax St Annes on Sea)
Residents were amazed to see a massive 'jack-up rig' being moved off the coast of St Annes (Credit: Relax St Annes on Sea) | Relax St Annes on Sea

"Does anyone know what’s happening here? It’s been quite a sight watching what seems to be two ships moving a rig," one person wrote on social media.

Another added: "It's a 'jack up'. Tugs tow into position. I worked on one in Morecambe Bay early 90s before I moved to the North Sea."

What is a jack-up rig?

A jack-up rig is designed to be towed from one location to another.

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They are commonly used in connection with oil or natural gas drilling.

Due to their mobility, jack-up rigs can be used to drill exploration wells, appraisal wells and development wells.

A jack-up rig is designed to be towed from one location to another and are commonly used in connection with oil or natural gas drilling (Credit: Kim Elizabeth)A jack-up rig is designed to be towed from one location to another and are commonly used in connection with oil or natural gas drilling (Credit: Kim Elizabeth)
A jack-up rig is designed to be towed from one location to another and are commonly used in connection with oil or natural gas drilling (Credit: Kim Elizabeth) | Kim Elizabeth

Unlike self-propelled jack-up rigs which can move themselves under their own power, these need to be towed to their drilling location by a tugboat or other vessel

Once the towing jack-up rig arrives at its drilling location, it can be positioned and anchored to the sea floor using its jacking system.

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The rig can then be raised above the water line, allowing drilling operations to commence.

World's biggest ship off Blackpool coast

In 2023, Pioneering Spirit - the largest twin-hulled vessel ever built and the widest in the world - was spotted off the coast of Blackpool.

The massive ship, which reportedly cost around £2 billion to build, was moored off shore while crews deconstructed gas drilling platforms in the Irish Sea.

The ship, which sails under the flag of Malta, was built in 2013 and commenced offshore operations in August 2016.

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