Moored in the endless South Atlantic Ocean far off the coast of Angola, the “Kaombo Norte” oil-extraction vessel is a deeply impressive sight — 330 metres (1083 feet) long, with a tower 110 metres high sending a burning flame into the sky.
But inside, daily life on the ship is a different matter, with a crew of about 100 sharing narrow passages and confined spaces, living for weeks at a stretch in close quarters 24 hours a day.
The ship, owned by the French Total oil company, is an oil tanker converted into a FPSO (floating production, storage and offloading) vessel, pumping oil from deep under the seabed into its vast holds before collection — a major innovation for the industry.
Typical among the crew is 30-year-old unmarried engineer Benoit Tanguy, who shares a low-ceiling office with a colleague during the day.
At night, he squeezes into a small cabin that has the rare luxury of a sea view, but which he must share with three colleagues. Read More