SUMMARIES OF MAJOR ACCIDENT
(In event order)
A couple of blue ships working out of Aberdeen, one of which has had
its funnel markings changed, are also to be renamed. And incidentally, a
message to Harrisons, waiting for the other one to be done is like waiting
for the second shoe to be dropped in the room above you in a hotel with
very thin floors.
So, as well as still waiting for the
remarking of the funnels to be completed, we are also for the renaming of
the Stirling Forth and Stirling Clyde They are apparently to be
the Inverforth and Inverclyde. We are told that "Inver" is
Scottish for estuary - hence Inverness and Invergordon.
Meanwhile, we have been told that the
Faeroe Connector is to become the Esvagt Connector once more, which might
be a sign that oil exploration off the Faeroes has been abandoned for the
The Offshore Emergencies Conference
In our search for information we have once
more been to an offshore conference, in this case to support our role as
safety consultants. The topic was the now well explored subject of
Emergency Response, and it would not be possible for such a conference to
pass without some reference to the BP Jigsaw project, although it was left
until the last paper for any new information to be revealed.
The conference was addressed at that time
by Allan Graveson, the National Secretary of NUMAST who had a few things
to say about the process now under way, of evaluation of the BP proposals
by the HSE.
NUMAST of course represents many of the
seafarers in board the Emergency Response and Rescue Vessels, now lurking
round most on the rigs and platforms in the North Sea. And NUMAST is doing
what it can to deal with the problem, given the spectre that a successful
change in the provision of emergency cover would substantially reduce the
number of ships required.
The National Secretary came to Aberdeen
with a complaint and by good fortune he was able to make it to Dr Steve
Haddock of the HSE who was chairing the day's proceedings. And this was
that the general public, or more specifically the officials from NUMAST,
did not have access to the information provided by BP to the HSE in
support of the Jigsaw project.
This is because, and here I quote directly
from Allan Graveson's paper "It cannot be released because it falls
within Part II of the Code, Exemption 14. It is volunteered information
and remains the property of the supplier of the information. The guidance
contained in the code of practice means that the HSE has to ensure
confidentiality of the information supplied."
Where will it all end we ask, trying to
remember what is actually happening elsewhere in the world of Jigsaw at
the moment. Oh yes! They're building the helicopter. Those interested
could do worse than watching this space.
We were also told at the Offshore Emergencies
Conference that UKOOA Guidelines on Collision Avoidance, or some such
title, is shortly to appear in the newsagents. This title replaces the
previous Guidelines on Collision Management which has a slightly negative connotation.
This is particularly interesting to us,
because yet another supply vessel has piled into a platform at full speed
causing the most appalling damage to the ship and apparently injuring the
Master who was in bed at the time.
This collision does not seem to have appeared
anywhere in the marine press and of course may or may not be investigated by
the flag state, depending on where the ship is registered, so the
information has been passed on by word of computer, and word of mouth.
One must assume that not for the first time
the officer of the watch has left the bridge, probably to call the crew so
that they can go to work on arrival. The problem is that despite familiarity
with the process there still seems to be a general lack of appreciation of
the speed of the approach. In addition, the simple precaution of heading for
a point at some distance from the rig has not been followed.
We do risk assessments for oil rigs and their
activities, and constantly try to make the crews aware that it usually
takes a combination of events to cause an accident. This particular event
can be avoided by heading away from the rig, so that even if the
watch-keeper fails to take action as the ship arrives, it will pass
The Effects of Worldcom on the Rest of the
We have occasionally had a bit of a rant here
about the effect that the pursuit of share price has on the value of life of
everybody but the shareholders. The pundits in the financial press are now
of the opinion that the recent financial disasters in the United States will
have the effect of creating a more honest world were the employees and the
clients will get greater consideration.
Of course, we in Britain cannot see this yet
because we are in the throes of a power struggle between Gordon Brown, our
Chancellor of the Exchequer and the local managing directors of the oil
companies. This is because Gordon has put an extra 10% on their tax. Of
course everyone is being really stubborn, projects are being cancelled and
oil rigs are being dragged into the Cromarty Firth.
The only people really suffering here
are the British employees. Most of the oil companies are North American,
most of the construction is carried out in Italy, or Norway or Korea or
somewhere, the ship-owners are Norwegian or American and non of the rig
owners are British despite the existence of the British Rig Owners
Association. Oh, except BP.
Every month now new vessel arrive from the
yards. this month's most amazing craft was the Northern Canyon which boasts
10,500 bhp. Back in the 1960s ships two or three times the size had about a
quarter of the power available. Why do they need all this horsepower?
The chances are that they need it to maintain
station in extreme weather and they need it to hold position when they are
being kept in place by a DP system which, even though it is electronically
sophisticated just cannot replace the human brain for the ability to
anticipate a future event.
hence the event must be taking place before
the system can sense it and react against it, so it then takes much more
power to stay in position, and then a lot to counter the over-reaction which
has just taken place.
No, no!! say the DP enthusiasts. the system
can anticipate because it builds up a pattern to which it reacts.
If it did, why does it need all this
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