About Oil Rigs and Dutch Mussels

It’s not an oil rig, it’s an accommodation platform

I was asked a number of times this week about what looks like an oil rig platform bobbing on the horizon, so I called Carlyle de Coteau who is in charge of that government department whose name I cannot pronounce, and whose job it is to attract shipping companies to Aruba, as a new business opportunity.

It’s not an oil rig, he said, it is a support vessel, the SSV SAFE REGENCY, under a Singapore flag, built in 1982 to support off shore oil operations, it’s a hotel, an accommodation platform with 780 beds, restaurants and recreation facilities including gyms, and movie theaters. The platform also boasts 88 workstations, together with an impressive crane capacity, it is designed to provide ideal offshore support for construction, or remedial work.

Carlyle also explained that the SSV Safe Regency has a sophisticated mooring system, because it is usually parked in the vicinity of oil fields, mid-ocean, providing accommodations to oil workers.

However, as you know the oil world is idle, prices are down, no one is digging, so the equipment is unemployed. Carlyle reports that for a fee, going into government coffers, Aruba now provides safe parking and services such as water, fuel, removal of trash to unemployed ships, and the latest SSV SAFE REGAENCY just joined the fun in the sun, paying about one quarter of a million for Aruban hospitality.

The platform was moored at a distance, and in principle is capable of maintaining position in the harshest of environments but it had to be moved recently because of strong winds/currents. They are looking to reinforce the famous mooring cables to withstand some more draft and send her out again so she doesn’t ruin any sunset pictures, anymore!!

Zeeuwse Mosselen

It takes ten minutes to cook drunken mussels, and about the equal amount of time to enjoy them with assorted sauces and French fries, the Belgian way, at Papillon Restaurant.

You might not know, but it is mussels’ season, and Papillon restaurant started serving “Zeeuwse Mosselen,” on July 7th, for the duration of two month.

Restaurant Manager Tina van Mal says that since opening, Papillon has always been the first restaurant on the island to serve mussels steamed with Belgium beer or wine. Mussels are flown in directly from Holland and they arrive here every Thursday with KLM, as fresh as they can be, live, and ready to be steamed with butter, garlic, lemon zest, celery, carrot, pepper flakes, and some extra secret yet simple ingredients! Papillon also flies famous “Fin de Clair” oysters from France, besides Dutch mussels, to be enjoyed with epicurean wine and champagne pairing.

If you steam mussels at home, don’t overcook them, they will be ready in just minutes, when the shells open, then you may dig in, use a whole mussel shell as mini tongs/ tweezers, to help you dig out the plump, juicy morsel from its shell, drowning in the wine or beer broth.