Australia’s ATSB is investigating injuries to crew members of the BP-owned, Isle of Man registered liquefied natural gas tanker British Sapphire off Darwin, Northern Territory, on 16 May 2010. It is understood that two crew members were injured when the ship’s rescue boat fell after its winches failed during recovery operation. The boat had been launched as part of the evacuation of another crewmember who was suffering a suspected angina attack.
BP will attempt to lower a pipe to the source of the leaks, currently estimated to be 5,000 bbls – 794,936 litres (210,000 US gals) – to inject oil dispersants into the flow. This would encourage the oil to break up at an earlier stage and less oil to reach the surface.
Attempts to activate the blow-out preventer
Effects on shipping
North of England P&I Club has issued a briefing warning of possible problems caused by hull fouling of ships transitting the area of the spill.
Standard P&I Club has a similar briefing here.
A USCG investigator has made the following appeal on the gCaptain forum: “It is my goal to ensure that this gets nothing but the best of USCG attention and the right information is gathered to answer my 3 big questions:
How did it happen?
How do we prevent it from happening again?
If you are interested in helping and honoring those who have made the ultimate sacrifice, help me by providing me with information or educating me on the operations that led up to this incident. I am here. Please remember that it is a federal investigation, I am limited as to information that is releasable at this point, but, I will gladly share with you what I can.
My contact information is LT Angel Flood, my email at work is email@example.com. I don’t answer the phone much, so, email is best. Attorneys: file your Freedom of Information Act request. Media: Contact Coast Guard Public Affairs or the Joint Information Center at the incident command post. I am strictly focused on the marine casualty investigation.”
BP is trying to increase the assets it can bring to bear: “BP is looking to contract with vessels for hire (shrimp boats, oyster boats, etc.) to deploy boom in the Gulf of Mexico. The response contractors for this program are already collecting infomation on vessels. Specifically, they need the name, owner, dimensions, characteristics gincluding length, draft, horsepower, etc) and other pertinent information you can provide. Direction and training will be provided and determined by area response plans based on the highest priority areas on down.
Current staging areas for the program are Venice, LA; Mobile, AL; Biloxi, MS; Pascagoula, MS and Pensacola, FL. So far, more than 100,000 feet of boom has been deployed, with another 400,000 available. So if you can help, please do so. There is intended to be deployed launch barges staged in areas where additional boom may be deployed.
As soon as you have gathered the relevant information on your vessel, please email that information to the managing contractor Vince Mitchell at firstname.lastname@example.org or 425-745-8017. As well, please copy BP’s coordinator Grant Johnson at email@example.com.
A transcript of the latest press conference, which gives a run-down on the current situation as of 1 May is here.
A live interview with a survivor can be found here.
Valuable reading to aid understanding of what gone on, and the professionalism applied, can be found in the report on the Thunder Horse close call here.
Vessels responding to situations like that of Deepwater Horizon may encounter unexpected hazards with which they are unfamiliar and which are not immediately apparent.
A respondent on the gCaptain forum, Nomad, warns: “For any mariners responding to distress calls in circumstances such as this, it’s a good idea to stop – look – listen – before approaching too close. In this specific case, the venting hydrocarbons were ablaze, but in some cases there is no fire, just an uncontrolled flow. The presence of high concentrations of hydrogen sulfide gas is always a consideration, even with oil blowouts as there is often a gas component to the reservoir fluid.”
Hydrogen Sulphide, H2S, dangers are well known to offshore workers and vessels servicing them are usually equipped with H2S meters and alarms but others, such as fishing vessels will not. H2S is characterised by a ‘rotten eggs’ smell but the gas itself can disable the sense of smell in higher concentrations.
WASHINGTON D.C. — The Department of the Interior’s Minerals Management Service (MMS) announced today that the 2010 Annual Industry SAFE Awards Luncheon scheduled for May 3, 2010 at the Offshore Technology Conference (OTC) in Houston, Texas has been postponed.
The ongoing situation with the Transocean Deepwater Horizon drilling accident has caused the MMS to dedicate considerable resources to the successful resolution of this event, which will conflict with holding this ceremony next week.
The MMS will announce how the agency will proceed with the 2010 SAFE Award program during the next several weeks. The MMS apologizes for any inconvenience and thanks the organizers of the OTC for their understanding of our current situation.
Oil leaking from the site of the sunken Deepwater Horizon is expected to reach the US coast sometime during the coming weekend. Most appears to be little more than surface sheen with little depth.
Attempts by several remotely operated vehicles, ROVs, have so far failed to close the Blow Out Preventer and oil continues to leak at about 1,000 barrels a day. Additional options are still being developed to trigger the BOP.
Two drillships, Transocean’s Development Driller 3 and Discoverer Enterprise are moving into position to drill relief wells and stop the leaks.
NOAA reports: “The situation remains highly dynamic with severe storms and high seas hampering response efforts. Winds have been 20-30 knots gusting higher, seas 7 1/2 feet, with a tornado watch for coastal waters. The Mobile Offshore Drilling Unit (MODU), or rig, has been located on the seafloor approximately 1300’ northwest of the well. The riser has also been located and traced by remotely operated vehicles (ROVs). Two leaks have been identified, preliminary estimates are that the well is leaking 1000 barrels (42,000 gallons) a day at a depth of 5000’. The estimates will be revised pending information from ROVs monitoring the seafloor and surface and overflight observations as weather conditions allow. A flotilla of response vessels and personnel are on-scene. The U.S. Coast Guard suspended its search for 11 missing crewmembers on Friday, April 23. NOAA extends its deepest sympathies to the families and friends of the missing.
On April 24, aircraft observations indicated a 20-by-20-mile area of rainbow sheen and emulsified crude oil. All available response assets are either mobilized to clean up existing oil or on standby in the event that the release worsens. Planning teams are considering potential response strategies to control the well and address the floating oil. These include application of dispersants, drilling of relief wells, shoreline protection and assessment, cleanup plans, and working with state and local governments.
The latest NOAA oil-spill trajectory analyses do not indicate oil reaching shore over the next 3 days; this assumes that the rate of oil release is steady and weather remains as forecast.
The U.S. Coast Guard suspended its search for the 11 missing crewmembers from the mobile offshore drilling unit, Deepwater Horizon, at approximately 5 p.m., Friday.
“Our deepest sympathies and prayers go out to the families of these 11 crewmembers,” said Rear Adm. Mary Landry, commander of the Eighth Coast Guard District. “Suspending a search is one of the most difficult decisions a commander has to make.”
The 11 crewmembers had been missing since Tuesday, when an explosion occurred on the Deepwater Horizon at approximately 10 p.m. The Coast Guard searched continuously for three days with an effort consisting of 28 air and surface sorties, covering approximately 5,375 square miles.
Deepwater Horizon finally collapsed in flames and sank in more than 2000 metres just after 1700 on 22 April. Currently 11 people remain missing. a slick of pollution has become apparent and clean-up efforts are underway. Another drillship, Discoverer Enterprise, has been tasked with drilling a new well which will intercept the one beneath Deepwater Horizon to stop the flow of gas.
See also: Deepwater Horizon – Search Continues
Early reports that 11 people missing from the burning mobile offshore drilling unit, MODU, Deepwater Horizon about 42 miles Southeast of Venice, La., have been accounted for appear to be false. A statement from the US says that it is continuing to search for the missing. Reports indicate that there were 126 people on board the MODU at the time of the explosion.
The fire, with flames estimated to have reached more than 60 metres high, continues to burn. Attempts to close the well are being undertaken with two ROVs. Recent reports say the MODU is listing at 15 degrees and increasing and sinking at more than 1 metre an hour and she is shifting to starboard in more than 2000 metres.
It is too early to say with any confidence what caused the explosion and fire. The investigation is a cooperative effort between Mineral Management Service and the US Coast Guard. It is understood, but not confirmed, that the rig had recently set and cemented a tapered 7″x 9 5/8″ tapered casing and were somewhere in the process of displacing the riser with seawater and subsequently setting a surface plug when the well blew out.
Further updates, with greater accuracy than widely available are available in the forum of gCaptain.