DP system failure alert

New York: The US Bureau of Safety and Environmental Enforcement (BSEE)  and the US Coast Guard have jointly issued a safety alert after an  incident where an unidentified offshore supply vessel lost its position when attached to a wellhead whileworking  on the US Outer Continental Shelf. The support vessel had severed the wellhead tree causing a lubricant release on the platform deck. Immediately prior to the position loss, the support vessel had multiple DP system alarms and failures, including loss of bow thruster and engine control. No attempt was made to identify or correct the causes of these failures and operations continued.

At the time of the accident the vessel was supporting pump and electric line equipment which was connected to the well. When the vessel lost position, it was in the process of removing a downhole DX plug from the well via wireline with high pressure pump lines connected, although pumping operations had not started.

Severe consequences were averted because a subsurface safety valve was activated and there was an absence of hydrocarbon flow from the well.

The coast guard and BSEE stressed the importance of properly acknowledging and investigating all alarms, and taking immediate and positive corrective action prior to initiating or proceeding with any critical OCS activity.

The OSV was not required to and did not have an International Safety Management (ISM) Code certificate.

Hans Thaulow

Hans Henrik Thaulow is an Oslo-based journalist who has been covering the shipping industry for the last 15 years. As well as some work for the Informa Group, Hans was the China correspondent for TradeWinds. He also contributes to Maritime CEO magazine. Hans’ shipping background extends to working as a shipbroker trainee with Simpson, Spence & Young in Hong Kong.
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