Leg 196 began with the first line ashore to Berth 4-E East Wharf, Keelung, Taiwan, at 0904 hr on 2 May 2001. Public relations tours were held each day with members of the press. VIP tours (including the Taiwanese vice president) were conducted on 4 May, and the bulk of the visitors were on board on 5 and 6 May. Major port call activities consisted of removing geochemical radioactive sources from the ship and loading a considerable amount of equipment, including ACORK casing (260 joints) and hardware, the Anadrill LWD and MWD tools, and 120 tons of sepiolite.
Immigration formalities were completed on 2 May, and the loading of 700.0 metric tons of fuel from 100 metric ton barges was finished at 2050 hr. Divers inspected the thrusters and main propulsion system to ensure they were not fouled by fishing lines during Leg 195. Additional inspection dives were conducted on the afternoon of 3 May.
On 3 May the vessel was shifted 40 ft astern to make room for other ships berthing at the dock; the incoming air freight and food were loaded. We then unloaded surface freight containers, placed the freight onto the dock, and began loading it onto the ship. The Anadrill MWD/LWD tools were unloaded onto the dock, and the Anadrill engineers began dockside assembly and testing. The loading of the bulk sepiolite began, using a pneumatic truck to transfer it onto the ship; 56 tons was loaded. Liquid helium was received, and the cryogenic magnetometer was filled.
After considerable efforts to coordinate logistics and obtain permits, the two radioactive sources for the geochemical logging tool were taken off the drillship on 4 May. Then we were allowed to load the sources for the LWD/MWD logging tools onto the ship. On 4 May the Anadrill engineers continued unloading and testing the LWD/MWD tools, and the remaining 64 short tons of bulk sepiolite was loaded. The trucks carrying the 10.75-in and 20-in casing began arriving, and we started to unload and stage it on the dock; during this process each joint was measured and labeled.
On 5 May, assembly and testing of the LWD/MWD tools continued, the casing handling and loading continued, and the off-going freight was taken off the ship. By 0830 hr on 6 May all casing had been loaded. A total of 226 joints of 10.75-in casing was stored in the riser hold, and 36 joints of 20-in casing was stored in the riser hold, as well as on top of the riser hold hatch, as the riser hold was full. The LWD/MWD tool testing was completed, the tools loaded, and the crew began securing the ship for departure.
The last line away from Keelung was at 0900 hr on 7 May. The transit to Site 1173 began at 0930 hr when the harbor pilot was disembarked. After a transit of 784 nmi we arrived at the Global Positioning System (GPS) coordinates of Site 1173 (32°14.6634'N, 135°1.5085'E) at 0645 hr on 10 May.
During the transit, the rig crew assembled the first reentry cone; it was moved into position on the moonpool doors in preparation for deployment. Repairs were made to the underreamer used during Leg 195 (seal replacements, 22-in cutter sets changed, and jet function verified). The rig crew performed preventive rig maintenance and repairs.
The ship experienced a power interruption during the transit (at 2347 hr on 8 May) caused by a shutdown of main engine #2 due to high crank-case pressure. This resulted in a slight reduction in speed that lasted 15 min. Repairs to the piston pin and insert carrier on cylinder #7 were made, and complete preventive maintenance was performed on this engine.
In preparation for operations at Site 1173, we attached a used 18.5-in tricone mill-tooth bit (Hughes X44) to the 22-in underreamer. This, in turn, was made up to an 8.25-in positive displacement mud motor (Baker-Hughes Drilex model D825MSHF), and the assembly was tested. The pressure drop at a flow rate of 275 gallons per minute (gpm) was low (75 psi) and leakage high, so we changed to a backup mud motor that had a 125-psi pressure drop at 275 gpm. The Dril-Quip cam-actuated drill-ahead (DQ CADA) casing running tool was made up to the 20-in casing hanger and a short (pup) joint of casing.
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