Communication flaws led to ship-rig collision: report

The Canadian Press
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The drill rig GSF Grand Banks at the Kiewit Offshore Services facility at Cow Head.
— Telegram file photo

The Transportation Safety Board says communication and teamwork failed when a supply vessel hit a drill rig off Newfoundland.

There were no injuries or pollution when the supply ship Maersk Detector hit one of eight steel columns on the GSF Grand Banks on Nov. 24, 2011.

The board says vessel workers continued loading cargo from the rig despite a high risk of collision because of poor communication between the ship’s bridge officers, and between the vessel and the rig.

“The investigation found that the relevant weather information was not provided proactively to the bridge officers, so they were unaware that the weather limits for the operation had been reached,” the report concludes.

Updates about heavy seas that could potentially swell more than nine metres weren’t relayed to them, it says.

The board says bridge officers didn’t work as a team, and didn’t thoroughly use electronic data to keep a safe distance from the rig.

“The master gave priority to his visual assessment of distance and position over the dynamic positioning (DP) system’s alarms and warnings, which were indicating that the vessel was not maintaining its position well.”

The report says the ship operator and Husky Oil Ltd., operator of the White Rose oilfield, have made changes to lower the risk of a similar strike.

They include resource management training for all bridge officers on the Maersk Detector, and stop-work triggers to respond to emergencies and warnings.

Husky has ensured all vessels operating on its behalf have access to continuous weather updates including sea heights, says the report. The company also put in place yearly assessments for dynamic positioning competence and training requirements for vessel staff to be completed by a third party.

Transport Canada has recommended changes to the Marine Personnel Regulations that oversee how bridge staff are trained.

The Canada-Newfoundland and Labrador Offshore Petroleum Board, which regulates the oil sector, has requested an update of the Marine Operations Manual along with emergency response plans for the GSF Grand Banks.

A spokeswoman for Husky Oil declined an interview request, saying the report speaks for itself. Officials with Maersk did not respond to a request for comment.

Organizations: Transportation Safety Board, Husky Oil, Transport Canada Marine Personnel Regulations Canada-Newfoundland and Labrador Offshore Petroleum Board

Geographic location: White Rose

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  • Hank
    April 13, 2013 - 18:46

    when the weather limits for the operation are reached then, Then A Red Warning Flashing Light, And A Loud Sounding Safety Noise should go on Automatically, To warn the workers of the danger. This would give the workers enough time to respond safely to the warning, and evacuate the area,or follow safety procedures .