An offshore services company has been fined for serious safety failings following an incident in which a worker died after plunging 23 metres from a platform into the sea. The incident has been the subject of an MSF safety alert.
Sparked by a freefall lifeboat incident nine years ago Norway’s Petroleum Safety Authority will chew on comments regarding proposed new lifeboat safety rules over the next few months. The aim, says the PSA is “returning us to the level of safety we thought prevailed in 2005”.
Some 480 lifeboats may be affected and the offshor industry has alleged that the regulations could cost $10bn to implement. While the changes will apply to operations on the Norwegian Continental Shelf, NCS, it is likely that PSA’s opposite number, the UK’s Health and Safety Authority, may review its own regulations on lifeboats.
As the incidents listed below show, this light touch, outlined in the latest safety alert from Marine Safety Forum, MSF, could have been far, far worse. A too-hard thrust astern fortunately led to nothing more serious than a few scratches on paintwork, but the dynamic situation that the chief officer concerned was facing might have deserved a second look eve when other safety procedures have been checked out..
Says the alert from an MSF member: ” We have recently had an incident where one of our vessels made very slight contact with an installation. The vessel was called in to carry out cargo operations.
“All company and client 500 metre checks were completed and they were then given permission to enter the 500 metre zone. The chief officer was going to be driving during this operation, and he carried out the required 10 minute set up period.
Marine Safety Forum has issued a safety alert following an engine room fire aboard one of its member’s ships. The issue raises concerns about the potential for fire when oil purifiers leak onto hot surfaces. Have you checked yours lately?
Says the alert, which raises several safety issues:: “Recently onboard one of our vessels a fire occurred in the engine room space in way of the fuel oil purifier unit and port main engine. This resulted in a blackout situation, a temporary loss of propulsion and damage to engine room equipment, wiring etc.
“The vessel informed the platform at the location, they were well clear of the installation (1.5 nautical miles) in the drift off position. There were no other vessels in the area. The vessel was in contact with the Coast guard throughout the incident and they were kept abreast of the situation. The fire was extinguished by ship staff.
“Power was restored and the vessel made way to port for remedial repairs and incident investigation. There were no injuries or environmental impact sustained due to this incident; however the potential for a less favourable outcome was present.”
The seal between the purifier main body and cover was not effective enough in preventing fuel oil leaking out. Lagging and shielding in way of the Port main engine exhaust and turbo charger was not effective in preventing exposure to the hot surfaces below (The turbo charger outlet was the most likely initial ignition point), allowing fuel oil to come into contact with hot surface. The purifier unit had a number of plastic hoses fitted to it. It is felt that this had an impact on the extent of the damage, as when these melted they allowed more fuel to feed the fire.
Fire and a fatality following the ejection of a gland nut and lockscrew assembly from a wellhead while under pressure shortly before starting tubing installation has highlighted the need to ensure manufacturers procedures are always followed suggests a safety alert from the International Association of Oil and Gas Producers.
Lockscrews are commonly used in surface wellhead equipment to mechanically energize or retain internal wellhead components. Lockscrews are not standardized across the industry, so manufacturers’ procedures should always be used for operations that may require manipulation of lockscrews. Work involving gland nut and lockscrew assemblies should be done under the supervision of qualified service personnel from the wellhead equipment provider who have access to the operational procedures, key dimensions, and torque ratings necessary for correct use.
Operators should consider working with their wellhead equipment and service providers to validate the integrity of gland nut and lockscrew assemblies that are exposed to wellbore pressure in the field by taking the following steps:
The Deepwater Horizon/Macondo in the spring of 2010, and the West Atlas/Montara in August 2009, disasters have called for a paradigm shift in global attitudes and requirements relating to safety and environmental protection in offshore petroleum activities. Consequently, a challenging range of expectations are now being proposed for better coordination of global regulatory efforts in the petroleum industry, establishment of the highest safety standards across onshore and offshore borders and promotion of a generally more efficient coordination of national safety authorities’ supervisory regimes in order to promote health, safety and environment in the industry.
Key issues at the conference will include an update on the progress of four of the five IRF priority areas above. A welcome evening for all participants will also be organized on Monday 3 October. A program committee is currently preparing the detailed conference program.
MAC has little information regarding these dramatic photos, from a MAC subscriber on condition of anonimity, of the ERRV Grampian Defender hitting the BP Magnus offshore facility on 22 April. According to Aberdeen-based newspaper Evening Express workers on the facility felt a heavy jolt , work on the platform was stopped and personnel evacuated.
There are no reports of harm to personnel or pollution at this time.
The 27-year old Magnus is 160 kilometres north-east of the Shetland Islands in the UK zone, making it the most northerly UK field. The Magnus jacket is the largest single piece steel structure in the North Sea.
Grampian Defender is a 2002-built 850 GRT ERRV operated by the Craig Group.
If you have information on this incident we’d be pleased to hear about it.
Norway’s PSA recently says a total of 115 collisions between installations and visiting vessels with work on the field have been reported since 1982, and no less than 26 between 2001 and 2010. Earlier this year it warned: “is concerned that the many collisions between vessels and installations on the NCS could lead to major accidents. It has called for big improvements in ship operation”.
Norway’s Petroleum Safety Authority Norway (PSA) has asked the industry to propose specific measures for reducing the number of hydrocarbon leaks and well control incidents on the Norwegian continental shelf.
A very positive trend in the number of hydrocarbon leaks larger than 0.1 kilograms per second was experienced off Norway from 2002 to 2007.
The industry’s goal of reducing the number of leaks of this type to a maximum of 10 per year by 2008 was achieved as early as 2007.
Over the past three years, however, this positive development has unfortunately ceased. The figure rose to 14 in 2008 and 15 in 2009, before returning to 14 last year.
On 5 January 2011, the Petroleum Safety Authority Norway, PSA, and the Civil Aviation Authority, CAA, conducted an audit of BP Norway’s Valhall PH directed towards emergency preparedness management and helicopter deck operations.
The audit was a supplement to the previous technical audit of Valhall PH, and included emergency preparedness analyses, emergency preparedness plans and organisation, as well as a review of CAA report 2010F505.
A helicopter trip to the Valhall field is longer than to any other field in the Norwegian sector. In 2010 and 2011 additional accommodation is present, and the manning level higher in order to execute a lot of planned activities such as the Valhall redevelopment project (VRD). Regular manning levels during these two years will be between 400 and 600 people.