Get Ready For The Rains

 maritime safety news, Safety Alerts, weather  Comments Off on Get Ready For The Rains
Jun 092014

stormHong Kong’s Maritime Department, Mardep, advisory regarding typhoons reminded MAC that it is time to send out the usual warnings for the this time of year – ugly weather is on the way and there will certainly be the usual casualties among cargo ships and ferries around Asia. MAC would prefer that its readers are not among them.

Such weather affects so many parts of a ship’s operations – from mooring to simply avoiding being killed by a badly-design bridge – that no single piece of advice covers every situation. Over the years we’ve carried many reports and several podcasts related to bad weather. Preparation and forethought is the key difference between a bumpy ride and a casualty.

Here are some incidents to think about and some of our podcasts:

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Musing On Ike

 maritime accidents  Comments Off on Musing On Ike
Sep 192008

As battered offshore oil and gas platforms come back to life in the gulf of Mexico and merchant shipping gets back to normal in the wake of Hurricane Ike MAC mused upon a few questions and put them to our ‘Man in the Mexican Gulf’, a US Coast Guard commander involved in the operation to prevent a big blow becoming a maritime catastrophe.

Those familiar with the MAC podcasts The Case Of The Errant Hookers and The Case Of The Unlucky Hooker will know that warning and suggestions for precautions are sometimes not heeded, with results we know all too well, with results we all know too well.

MAC wondered whether commercial vessels, in particular those from outside the US, respond appropriately to the warnings that were issued? Apparently they did, although not necessarily of their own volition. Vessels of more tha\n 500 Gross tonnes were under mandatory VTS requirements and had to heed Captain of the Port Hurricane Port condition requirements.

MAC was told: ” The USCG Captain of the Port has a lot of authority here to control the movement of vessels and impose strict safety guidelines for the placement and disposition of vessels. As a preventative measure, we ordered all vessels remaining in port to submit applications and relay their mooring arrangements, etc to determine safe harborage. ”

Most problems were encountered with vessels under that size. While larger vessels handling navigation and anchor handling in bad weather quite well it appear that there is a need more familiarity among vessels smaller than 500 gross tonnes.

Oil and gas production platforms evacuated well in advance and took precautions appropriate to the predicted conditions. Losses and damage of the 3,800 platforms in the gulf was limited and mainly involved older facilities. Safety issues are generally dealt with by the US Minerals Management Service, MMS, which might review the weather hardiness of older rigs.

All in all, quite a creditable performance.

Ike – 28 down, 3,772 To Go

 accident reporting  Comments Off on Ike – 28 down, 3,772 To Go
Sep 182008

Hurricane Ike has destroyed some some 28 oil and gas production platform in the Gulf Mexico and several others have been significantly damaged, reports the US Minerals Management Service, MMS. Casualties include three jack-up rigs destroyed, and one severely damaged while two rigs that were earlier reported to be drifting have been secured.

Daily production losses have been initially estimated at 11,000 barrels of oil and 8.2 million cubic feet of gas. Production from the Gulf of Mexico accounts for 25 percent of the oil and 15 percent of the natural gas produced in the US. As of June 2008, daily production estimates for the Gulf of Mexico were 1.3 million barrels of oil and 7.0 billion cubic feet of gas. Since then, gas production from the Independence Hub facility increased and in August 2008 gas production from the Gulf was estimated at 7.4 billion cubic feet of gas per day from some 3,800 platforms ranging from single well caissons in water depths of ten feet to a large complex facility in water depth greater than 7,000 feet.

“To date, most of the destroyed platforms include older facilities with small levels of production,” says Lars Herbst, regional director, MMS Gulf of Mexico Region. “We expect additional reports of damage as the weather allows more flights and operators are able to board the platforms and begin inspections.”

Early reports also indicate that there is some pipeline damage. The full extent of damage will not be available until operators are able to test the systems.

MMS has been conducting helicopter fly-overs to investigate reports of oil spills/sheens. While it is too early for definitive reports, there was one reported sheen as of September 15, 2008 estimated to be nine barrels; subsequent investigations showed that the sheen had dissipated.