This Day in History

This Day in History (1978): Residential Barges

“They’re like floating hotels.”

This Day in History (1978): Residential Barges

From the May 31, 1978, edition of The Arabian Sun

Thee are concerts in the evenings, variety shows on weekend, and at Ju'aymah, birthday cakes for every birthday.


These delightful extras are just some of the amenities offered to more than 5,000 men who reside on Aramco's three pairs of residential barges in Ju'aymah, Qurayyah, and Dhahran.


"They're like floating hotels," says Maintenance Coordinator Derek Wright of the Ju'aymah barges.


Bob Rivers, Contractor Community Services administrator for all six barges, refers to them instead as "instant housing."


"They're part of the construction camp program," he says. The men at Quarayyah are there to build the seawater treatment plant, the men at Dhahran are assigned to various residential housing construction projects in the Dhahran area, while the men at Ju'aymah are constructing the NFL and terminal facilities there.


Measuring 410 feet in length, 90 feet in width, and 91 feet in height, the Ju'aymah barges are the largest of their kind in the world. All six of the barges are now Aramco owned.


Except for capacity — about 3,400 men reside on the Ju'aymah barges, 1,750 at Dhahran, and 550 at Quarayyah — the six barges are essentially the same. Storage and mechanical areas are on the lower deck, cabins on the middle decks, and recreation facilities on the upper decks. Dining halls and galleys are located on each cabin deck of each vessel.


Each barge is equipped with its own TV room, library, game room, as well as a large outdoor area on the upper deck set aside for movies, recorded concerts, or live entertainment.


In addition, most barge residents are actively involved in one or more indoor and outdoor sports.


Caption for top photo: Aerial view shows the Ju'aymah residential barges, the "Subayti" and the "Rabibah," in foreground. The camp sports area is in background at left. The Ju'aymah barges were built in Japan, were fitted and supplied in Singapore, and towed to their present location. They arrived in September 1977.


Also on this date

2013 The asteroid 1998 QE2 and its moon make their closest approach to Earth for the next two centuries


2008  Usain Bolt breaks the 100-meter dash record with a time of 9.72 seconds


2003  Air France retires its fleet of Concorde aircraft


1977  The Trans-Alaska Pipeline is completed


1971  In accordance with the Uniform Monday Holiday Act passed by the U.S. Congress in 1968, observation of Memorial Day occurs on the last Monday in May for the first time, rather than on the traditional Memorial Day of May 30


1962  The West Indies Federation dissolves


1961  The South African Constitution of 1961 becomes effective, thus creating the Republic of South Africa, which remains outside the Commonwealth of Nations until June 1, 1994, when South Africa returns to Commonwealth membership


1921  The Tulsa race massacre kills at least 38, but other estimates of black fatalities vary from 55 to about 300


1911  The "RMS Titanic" is launched in Belfast, Northern Ireland


1889  More than 2,200 people die after a dam fails and sends a 60-foot wall of water over the town of Johnstown, Pennsylvania


1859  The clock tower at the Houses of Parliament, which houses Big Ben, starts keeping time


1790  The U.S. enacts its first copyright statute, the Copyright Act of 1790


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