Problems with freefall lifeboat releases have led to the shutdown of the StatoilHydro-operated Kristin platform off Norway. Investigations are underway both by Statoil and Norway’s Petroleum Safety Authority, PSA..
In December last year a freefall lifeboat on the Veslefrikk B platform failed to launch as part of an operation to replace the lifeboat. The release hook required lubrication and several movements before it would function.
Further hook release problems arose with the new freefall lifeboat when fully laden.
The same type of Umoe-Schatt Harding FF1000S had been installed on the Kristin platform. Staffing on the platform has now been cut from 90 to 16 following similar hook release problems in mid-December.
Last year, a freefall lifeboat of similar design on Veslefrikk B suffered damage when launched during a test, again leading to a platform shutdown, revealing design flaws. Three freefall lifeboats were taken out of service. In a meeting with the PSA, Statoil expressed doubt “concerning the quality of these lifeboats as a means of evacuation during all types of weather conditions.”.