It can be hard enough to find a stonking great port anchored to the ground so when it comes to finding a floating production storage and offloading vessel,FPSO, it’s a good idea to find out where it is before you set off. “The usual place?” doesn’t hack it, as a recent safety alert from the Marine Safety Forum emphasises.
Explains MSF “A recent incident occurred where one of our PSVs, following departure from Aberdeen, arrived at the wrong offshore location.”
The PSV was alongside in Aberdeen when the on signing Captain and Chief Officer joined. A short handover then occurred between the on signing and off signing personnel. The off signing Captain and Chief Officer left the vessel after a brief 15 minute handover.
The transportation which brought the on signing personnel to the vessel was waiting on the quayside to take the off signing personnel to the airport.
The ‘Master’s Handover Report’ stated that the FPSO was in a certain position. Subsequently, the on signing Captain advised that his shift had not been at this FPSO for more than 1 year and that he had not been on board this PSV for many months.
Prior to departure, the Chief Officer asked Marine Control by Email to confirm that the FPSO was in its ‘usual’ position and Marine Control confirmed by Email that the FPSO was indeed in its usual location. The Chief Officer consulted the ‘FPSO Data Card’ to determine the position of the FPSO. This position was the same as that contained within the ‘Master’s Handover Report’. Therefore, it is possible that the information in the ‘Master’s Handover Report’ was taken from this ‘FPSO Data Card’. The ‘FPSO Data Card’
was taken from the file on the Bridge which contained all of the vessel’s data cards.
Immediately prior to departure, the Captain asked the Chief Officer whether the position of the FPSO had
been verified and, following confirmation of this, the PSV departed Aberdeen Harbour bound for the FPSO.
However, it was subsequently discovered that the FPSO was in a different position from this position
previously verified by the PSV.
The PSV subsequently arrived close to her intended location but was unable to locate the FPSO. The 2nd
Officer then contacted Marine Control to ask them to advise the position of the FPSO.
It was then discovered that there were two data cards in existence which indicated different positions and that the PSV had arrived at the wrong location for the FPSO.
The PSV then advised Marine Control of the data card discrepancies whilst setting course towards the FPSO which was at this time more than 100 miles distant.
The PSV arrived on location at the FPSO some 10 hours later than expected and was sent to standby to
await further instructions.
The investigation of this incident revealed that:-
• The PSV arrived at the wrong location for the FPSO
• Vessel personnel failed to ascertain the correct position for the FPSO
• Vessel personnel assumed that the position on the ‘FPSO Data Card’ was correct
• No experience transfer or lessons learnt from a previous similar incident was available to the vessel personnel
• There was no intervention from Marine Control regarding the voyage progress of the PSV
• The handover between the PSV off signing and on signing personnel was insufficient
To help ensure that vessels arrive at the correct location at the end of every transit the investigation of this incident identified the need to:-
• Implement a robust process which ensures that information contained within data cards is valid and
that whenever any information is updated redundant information is removed from the system
• Establish more formal communications between Marine Control and vessels and to avoid the use of
• Encourage vessel personnel to challenge information more readily and to avoid making assumptions
based on limited information
• Ensure that all incidents are adequately investigated by all relevant parties and that all experience
transfer and lessons learnt from previous incidents is utilised to prevent any recurrence
• Ensure that Marine Control intervene should they observe that a vessel is not making appropriate
progress towards the intended location
• Enforce the requirement to provide a suitable and sufficient handover during all crew changes so that
vessel operations continue as planned with no unexpected occurrences