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SUMMARIES OF MAJOR  ACCIDENT REPORTS
(In event order)

THE KULLUK INCIDENT
December 2012
THE COSTA CONCORDIA
January 2012
THE DEEPWATER HORIZON
April 2010
THE BOURBON DOLPHIN
April 2007
THE STEVNS POWER
October 2003
THE OCEAN RANGER
February 1982
THE OCEAN EXPRESS
April 1976

PICTURE OF THE DAY
PIC OF THE DAY ARCHIVES
2007 - 77 Photographs
2008 - 101 Photographs
2009 - 124 Photographs
2010 - 118 Photographs
2011 - 100 Photographs
2012 - 97 Photographs

 

   

ANOTHER MARINE DISASTER

The words reproduced here have circulated round the safety departments of a number of organisations. They describe the loss of a survey ship and the resulting distress suffered by the crew in a delightfully laconic style which almost subversively lets us know how the accident could have been prevented and how at every stage mistakes continued to be made.

The names of the ship, the owner and the client have been removed, but this makes no difference to the strength of the narrative.

It was the Xxxx Xxxxxr Survey Vessel. All got off ok and no injuries. This past Wednesday, the XXX XXXX sank about 300 miles offshore of Iran .

 Around 6AM in about 1 meter seas, the navigator went down to the engine room to lower the UBSL pole, so that we could begin surveying.  The chain used to lower the pole suddenly snapped.  There was no safety chain attached and the flange at the top of the pole, which would have prevented the pole from dropping all the way through the hole flew off.

Therefore, the USBL pole fell 3000 meters down to the bottom of the ocean, leaving a 12 inch hole in the ships hull.  As you can expect, water started flooding the engine room.

 Crew members tried to fit a metal plate over the hole, however this proved to be impossible due to the pressure of the water.  Non-essential personnel, were immediately transferred by FRC to the chase boat.  Meanwhile, the crew continued to try to contain the flooding.

The engines and ship power were quickly shut down, and emergency power was turned on.  The pumps on the OV and the MS proved too small to be effective, so the engine room's watertight door was closed & dogged down.  Unfortunately, this door was not exactly watertight, and water proceeded to flood compartment next to the engine room.

  Meanwhile, MAYDAY calls were issued from both the OV and the MS.  The first to respond was a Coalition Warship, which later turned out to be the USS SEATTLE (AOE 3), a fast combat support ship.  Since it would take a while for the SEATTLE to arrive, a Canadian C-130, and a Japanese helicopter were dispatched to the location.

 These aircraft remained until the end.  Soon, a US helicopter also arrived carrying with it 2 large pumps and a damage control (DC) crew to operate the pumps.  When the equipment and personnel were safely lowered onto the OV, the helo returned to pick up and deliver a third pump. 

 Unfortunately, two of these pumps became clogged with debris, and the DC crew were never able to get them to operate.  The Commanding Officer (CO) on board the SEATTLE was informed by the DC crew the only chance that the OV had to stay afloat was if divers were dispatched to try and repair the hole.

 This solution was rejected by the CO.  As a last ditch effort, a tarp was unfurled over the side and under the keel to try and cover the hole and slow the flooding.  However, this effort proved futile.  Eventually, the SEATTLE arrived on site.  The CO assessed the situation and decided that despite all efforts, the OV was going to be a "long-term loss."  He instructed all crew and instruments to be removed and the ship was then abandoned.  

 When all crew member were onboard the MS, the Captain and Party Chief made one last trip back by FRC to try and release the second towfish (the first was released earlier by FSSI marine techs) and try retrieve whatever personal effects that they could.  Things retrieved included some undergarments, camera, 3 bottles of alcohol, one flip flop (right foot)and one Teva (left foot), various souvenirs.

 However, things such as wallets, house keys, cell phone, address book, and CD's now reside on the bottom of the Arabian Sea .

 It took a few hours before the OV finally sank, but when it happened, she went down by the port bow.

 Afterwards, the MS sailed through the floating debris and was able to retrieve the two towfish, along with the 8 life rafts, which had automatically deployed.  The MS then began a rather rough 16 hour transit to Muscat , Oman .  While the MS was steaming, the crew of the former-OV spent the night consuming the salvaged alcohol, and trying to sleep on spare mattresses, which were placed on the deck for us.

Once we arrived in Oman , it took many hours for officials to take statements and issue visas.  The crew of the OV was then taken to a hotel, where we cleaned up, put on whatever clothes we could find, and went shopping for clothes, shoes, and toiletries.  

 Crew members, who were able to save their money and credit cards, supported those of us who lost everything.  We left Oman very late Thursday night and spent the next 24 hours on airplanes. 

 The Seattle , WA based crew returned home on Saturday afternoon, and we were met at the airport by the president of our company, the Survey Manager, and the Engineering Manager.  One of my co-workers was also met by his family, who flew all the way out from Virginia . I cannot even venture a guess on what will be the repercussions of this event. 

Besides our personal losses, my company lost about US$2 million worth of uninsured gear, including 20 km of fiber optic cable (10 km of which was flaked on the deck in two 5 km pieces due to a previous incident), traction winch, a hydraulic power unit (HPU), and lots of electronic and computer gear.

  Additionally, it is unknown how much of the data, from the survey, was recovered.  I do know that there are already gaggles of lawyers hovering around and I am relatively certain that there will be many lawsuits between my company, our clients and their clients.

 While this was an extremely harrowing experience, I am thankful that everyone was able to safely get off the ship.  I am fully aware that things can be replaced, while people cannot.  We were very lucky that this happened in daylight hours in calm seas.  We were also lucky that we had a chase boat following us and a Navy warship, so close by.

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FEATURES

THE DEEPWATER HORIZON
Deepwater Horizon -The President's Report
Deepwater Horizon - The Progess of the Event

OTHER ACCIDENTS
The KULLUK Grounding
The Costa Concordia Report
The Costa Concordia Grounding
The Elgin Gas Leak
The Loss of the Normand Rough
The Bourbon Dolphin Accident
The Loss of the Stevns Power
Another Marine Disaster
Something About the P36
The Cormorant Alpha Accident
The Ocean Ranger Disaster
The Loss of the Ocean Express

OPERATIONS
The Life of the Oil Mariner
Offshore Technology and the Kursk
The Sovereign Explorer and the Black Marlin

SAFETY
Safety Case and SEMS
Practical Safety Case Development
Preventing Fires and Explosions Offshore
The ALARP Demonstration
PFEER, DCR and Verification
PFEER and the Dacon Scoop
Human Error and Heavy Weather Damage
Lifeboats & Offshore Installations
More about PFEER
The Offshore Safety Regime - Fit for the Next Decade
The Safety Case and its Future
Jigsaw
Collision Risk Management
Shuttle Tanker Collisions
A Good Prospect of Recovery

TECHNICAL
The History of the UT 704
The Peterhead Connection
Goodbye Kiss
Uses for New Ships
Supporting Deepwater Drilling
Jack-up Moving - An Overview
Seismic Surveying
Breaking the Ice
Tank Cleaning and the Environment
More about Mud Tank Cleaning
Datatrac
Tank Cleaning in 2004
Glossary of Terms

CREATIVE WRITING
An Unusual Investigation
Gaia and Oil Pollution
The True Price of Oil
Icebergs and Anchor-Handlers
Atlantic SOS
The Greatest Influence
How It Used to Be
Homemade Pizza
Goodbye Far Turbot
The Ship Manager
Running Aground
A Cook's Tale
Navigating the Channel
The Captain's Letter

GENERAL INTEREST
The Sealaunch Project
Ghost Ships of Hartlepool
Beam Him Up Scotty
Q790
The Bilbao OSV Conference