Dec 152014
 

When it comes to safety, unless everybody’s on the same page
avoidable tragedies will happen.

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When the anchor-handling tug supply vessel Bourbon Dolphin capsized it came at enormous cost. Not just the loss of an almost new and expensive vessel, and a fine of more than $700,000 against Bourbon Offshore Norway, but, most importantly the loss of eight lives including that of a 14 year old schoolboy whose own life had yet to begin. It was a wake up call to the offshore industry that resonates even today.

It happened not because one man made an error but because an entire system failed to protect those onboard, because policies, procedures and practices that should have created a virtual safety net proved wanting, because not everybody was singing from the same songsheet. Continue reading »

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Dec 082014
 

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Seven years ago Bourbon Dolphin capsized during a rig move. It was a tragedy that sent waves thorough the offshore industry but have the lessons been learned?

It is still dark early on the morning of 30th March 2007 in Scalloway, Shetland as Norwegian Captain Oddne Remoy boards the Bourbon Dolphin for the first time. Bourbon Dolphin is less than a year old, painted in the distinctive green and white house colours of Bourbon Offshore Norway. She flies the Norwegian flag.

Remoy is to relieve from the vessel’s existing master, Frank Reiersen, as part of the vessel’s shift – five weeks on and five weeks off and is replacing the ship’s other regular master, Hugo Hansen.  Hansen and Remoy have already discussed Bourbon Dolphin by telephone. Continue reading »

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Mar 292008
 
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No single cause led to the capsize of the AHTS Bourbon Dolphin with the loss of eight lives, with seven survivors, on April 12, 2007 says a report into the sinking released by Norway’s Justice Ministry, but Bourbon Offshore, which owned the vessel has been criticised for inadequately checking the vessel’s stability following an earlier incident and for not ensuring that the captain, Oddne Remøy, was sufficiently familiar with the vessel sand its crew before undertaking the operation that led to the capsize.

Key conclusions are:
• The vessel was built and equipped as an all-round vessel AHSV (Anchor Handling Supply Vessel). Uniting these functions poses special challenges. In addition to bollard pull, anchor-handling demands thruster capacity, powerful winches, big drums and equipment for handling chain. Supply and cargo operations demand the biggest possible, and also flexible, cargo capacities both on deck and in tanks. The “Bourbon Dolphin” was a
relatively small and compact vessel, in which all these requirements were to
be united.

• The company had no previous experience with the A 102 design and ought therefore to have undertaken more critical assessments of the vessel’s characteristics, equipment and not least operational limitations, both during her construction and during her subsequent operations under various conditions. The company did not pick up on the fact that the vessel had experienced an unexpected stability-critical incident about two months after
delivery.

• The vessel’s stability-related challenges were not clearly communicated from shipyard to company and onwards to those who were to operate the vessel.

• Under given load conditions the vessel did not have sufficient stability to handle lateral forces. The winch’s pulling-power was over-dimensioned in relation to what the vessel could in reality withstand as regards stability.

• The anchor-handling conditions prepared by the shipyard were not realistic. Nor did the Norwegian Maritime Directorate’s regulatory system make any requirement that these be approved.

• The ISM Code demands procedures for the key operations that the vessel is to perform, Despite the fact that anchor-handling was the vessel’s main function, there was no vessel-specific anchor-handling procedure for the “Bourbon Dolphin”.

• The company did not follow the ISM code’s requirement that all risk be identified.

• The company did not make sufficient requirements for the crew’s qualifications for demanding operations. The crew’s lack of experience was not compensated for by the addition of experienced personnel.

• The master was given 1½ hours to familiarise himself with the crew and vessel and the ongoing operation. In its safety management system the company has a requirement that new crews shall be familiarised with (inducted into) the vessel before they can take up their duties on board. In practice the master familiarises himself by overlapping with another master who knows the vessel, before he himself is given the command.

• Neither the company nor the operator ensured that sufficient time was made available for hand-over in the crew change.

• The vessel was marketed with continuous bollard pull of 180 tonnes. During an anchor-handling operation, in practice thrusters are always used for manoeuvring and dynamic positioning. The real bollard pull is then materially reduced. The company did not itself investigate whether the vessel was suited to the operation, but left this to the master.

• The company did not see to the acquisition of information about the content and scope of the assignment the “Bourbon Dolphin” was set to carry out. The company did not itself do any review of the Rig Move Procedure (RMP) with a view to risk exposure for crew and vessel. The company was thus not in a position to offer guidance.

• The Norwegian classification society Det norske Veritas (DNV) and the Norwegian Maritime Directorate were unable to detect the failures in the company’s systems though their audits.

• In specifying the vessel, the operator did not take account of the fact that the real bollard pull would be materially reduced through use of thrusters. In practice the “Bourbon Dolphin” was unsuited to dealing with the great forces to which she was exposed.

• The mooring system and the deployment method chosen were demanding to handle and vulnerable in relation to environmental forces.

• Planning of the RMP was incomplete. The procedure lacked fundamental and concrete risk assessments. Weather criteria were not defined and the forces were calculated for better weather conditions than they chose to operate in. Defined safety barriers were lacking. It was left to the discretion of the rig and the vessels whether operations should start or be suspended.

• In advance of the operation no start-up meeting with all involved parties was held. The vessels did not receive sufficient information about what could be expected of them, and the master misunderstood the vessel’s role.

• The procedure demanded the use of two vessels that had to operate at close quarters in different phases during the recovery and deployment of anchors. The increased risk exposure of the vessels was not reflected in the procedure.

• The procedure lacked provisions for alternative measures (contingency planning), for example in uncontrollable drifting from the run-out line. Nor were there guidelines for when and in what way such alternative measures should be implemented and what if any risk these would involve.

• The deployment of anchor no. 2 was commenced without the considerable drifting during the deployment of the diagonal anchor no. 6 had been evaluated.

• Human error on the part of the rig and the vessels during the performance of the operation.

• Communication and coordination between the rig and the vessel was defective during the last phase of the operation.

• Lack of involvement on the part of the rig when the “Bourbon Dolphin” drifted.

• The roll reduction tank was most probably in use at the time of the accident.

• The inner starboard towing pin had been depressed and the chain was lying against the outer starboard towing pin. The chain thereby acquired a changed angle of attack.

The incident was investigated by a Royal Commission which held five open hearings and questioned 38 witnesses, including the survivors, officers from other vessels that participated in the operation, individuals from the owner company, the shipyard, the operator company Chevron, the drillrig “Transocean Rather”, the UK consultancy firm Trident, and The Norwegian Maritime Directorate and the classification society Det Norske Veritas. In addition the Commission has collected and reviewed a large quantity of documentation related to the vessel and the operation in which the “Bourbon Dolphin” was involved when the accident happened. The Commission has also had access to underwater footage of the casualty taken straight after the capsize and of the wreck in December 2007. Members of the Commission have held a meeting with the parties’ stability experts and gained access to material that the latter had collected.

In its report the Commission points out that it is not possible to show that an individual error, whether technical or human, led to the accident; rather, a series of circumstances acted together to cause the loss of the vessel. The Commission concludes that the proximate causes of the accident were the vessel’s change of course to port (west) so as to get away from mooring line no. 3, at the same time as the inner starboard towing pin was depressed, causing the chain to rest against the outer port towing pin. This gave the chain an altered point and angle of attack on the vessel. Together with the vessel’s current load condition, the fact that the roll reduction tank was probably in use, and the effect on the vessel and chain of external forces, caused the vessel to capsize.

It emerges from the report that a number of indirect factors have contributed to the accident. A combination of weaknesses in the design of the vessel, and failures in the handling of safety systems by the company, by the operator and on the rig, are major contributory factors to the operation of 12 April 2007 coming out of control. Overall, system failures on the part of many players caused necessary safety barriers to be lacking, were ignored or were breached, so that the vessel and crew were exposed to a risk that resulted in the accident.

The Commission also makes a number of recommendations in its report with a view to preventing similar accidents in the future. Although no structural changes are proposed for existing vessels, it is recommended that in the future requirements are made for the preparation of stability calculations for anchor-handling that will be subject to approval by the authorities. In addition, requirements are proposed for formal training of winch operators and a review of requirements for survival suits, plus placement and installation of rescue floats. The Commission also proposes measures to improve the companies’ safety management systems. Risk assessments must be improved, there must be routines for overlap of new personnel and identification of the necessary crew qualifications, plus the preparation of vessel-specific anchor-handling procedures.

The Commission also points out that the operators’ rig move procedures must be made specific for every operation and be simple to understand for those operating under them. It must be insisted that the operator and rig prepare risk assessments for the entire operation before it is commenced. When the operation is executed, safety and coordination must be continuously evaluated. The Commission also proposes that an attention zone be introduced along the anchor line, indicating a maximum distance within which the vessel shall remain when running out anchors.

Press Conference Video

Commission Report, preliminary English Version

Animation, first sequence

Animation, Second Sequence

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Jan 192008
 

Total Responds to Erika Verdict

Total Responds to Erika Verdict

The French oil giant is “disappointed” that the Paris Criminal Court imposed a fine for the maritime pollution that occurred as result of the 1999 sinking of the tanker Erika.

UK – update re sinking of ICE PRINCE The UK Maritime and Coastguard Agency (MCA) issued a press notice stating that the estimated clearance over the wreck of the ICE PRINCE is 46.8 meters, but that an Irish Lights vessel will examine and confirm the clearance.  In the meantime, a temporary exclusion zone of 1000 meters is in effect.  Bundles of the floating timber are breaking up, but may still present a hazard, particularly for smaller vessels.  An incident report provides further details. (1/17/08).

Bourbon Dolphin findings delayed
BBC News – UK
The publication of an official report into the sinking of the Bourbon Dolphin off Shetland has been delayed. The vessel capsized during an anchor handling

Man attempts suicide in protest at SKorea oil spill payout
AFP –
A barge drifting in stormy weather smashed into the 147000-ton Hong Kong-registered tanker Hebei Spirit on December 7, causing the tanker to spill some

Harbor pilot pulled from chilly gulf
The News Herald – Panama City,FL,USA
Knowles guided a 300-foot cargo ship bound for Mexico through the St. Andrew Pass and out to sea Wednesday afternoon. The captain used a ladder to climb out

Ship Hits Bay Area Bridge…Again
KCBS – CA,USA
(KCBS) — For the third time in three months a ship has collided with a Bay Area bridge. The US Coast Guard says that around 2:30 Wednesday morning,

Grounded Fishing Vessel’s Damage Assessed Transit Plan Developed
SitNews – Ketchikan,AK,USA
boom continued to surround the vessel as a precaution and there have been no reports of petroleum leakage after the vessel’s initial grounding.

FG explains oil vessel explosion in PH
The Tide – Port Harcourt,Niger Delta,Nigeria
Harcourt on Friday was caused by an accident. Our correspondent reports that a ship carrying 5000 tonnes of petrol exploded at the Port Harcourt Wharf.

Posted 01/18/08 at 10:26 AM
Commodore Goodwill sustained damage to its hull during high winds on December 10 and it is not known when it will be back in service. The ship usually delivers some food and goods to Guernsey. Condor Ferries has chartered the Triumph. The replacement ship will begin daily sailings to Guernsey from 1 February. Source: BBC

San Francisco Bay – initial report on Cosco Busan incident prepared

The US Coast Guard issued a press release stating that the initial report on the COSCO BUSAN incident has been prepared and forwarded to Headquarters for review.  The report, prepared by the Incident Specific Preparedness Review (ISPR) team, focuses on the first two weeks of the response to the November 7, 2007 allision of the freighter with a pier of the San Francisco-Oakland Bay Bridge and the ensuing oil spill.  Public release of the report is expected in approximately two weeks. (1/16/08).

Savannah River – grounded vessel refloated

The US Coast Guard issued a press release stating that the container ship that grounded in the Savannah River has been refloated with the assistance of two towing vessels.  The ship has been moved to an anchorage area until the problem causing the grounding has been identified and repaired.  The incident is under investigation. (1/16/08).

Duluth – salvage plan approved for partially sunken laker

The US Coast Guard issued a press release stating that the salvage plan has been approved for the laker that partially sank after striking a submerged object while approaching its pier in Duluth.  Deballasting is expected to take several days.  Then repairs can be effected. (1/16/08).

Cyprus and Syria Sign Cooperation Agreement on Maritime Pollution


The agreement entails “. . . combating marine pollution, training and rehabilitation, research and the possibility of holding twining among the Syrian and Cypriot ports.”

Dock owner stands firm over pilot’s sacking
Liverpool Echo – UK
The member of trade union Unite was dismissed after an incident involving the grounding of a pilot vessel. No-one was hurt but he lost his job after

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Sep 252007
 

MSF, Marine Safety Forum, has set up a work programme in response to the Bourbon Dolphin tragedy in April, 2007, to respond to industry concerns and actions raisedf by the Norwegian Maritime Directorate. A full enquiry is current underway by the NMD.

The Bourbon Dolphin, an Ulstein A102 Anchor Handling Tug Supply vessel capsized and sank during anchor-handling operations for the semi-submersible drilling platform Transocean Rather. According to report on the Marine Link websiteWhen the Bourbon Dolphin attempted to release the inner pin of the anchor, the chain ran free and caught the outer tow pin, which caused the boat to capsize. The emergency release was triggered, but did not perform as designed. Fifteen crew members were onboard, seven survived, three bodies were found, and five are still missing, thought to be trapped in the vessel.”

Only one member of the bridge team survived.

Pending release of a full report the NMD has released a series of measures for Norwegian-registered vessels intended to avoid similar incidents. Copies are available here.

Bourbon itself has established a fund of the families of those lost in the incident .

MSF will hold a workgroup review meeting in Aberdeen on 28 November 2007, preparatory to the MSF all members meeting on the 29th.

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