Harsh criticism of fatal accident on Maersk rig

A comprehensive investigation of the fatal accident on the rig Maersk Interceptor reveals several violations of safety rules. More people could have been killed, says the Petroleum Safety Authority Norway.
Photo: Maersk Drilling
Photo: Maersk Drilling

There were numerous violations of safety protocol, when a violent accident occurred last year on Maersk Drilling's rig Maersk Interceptor, concludes the Norwegian Petroleum Safety Authority after a comprehensive investigation of the accident.

Maersk Drilling and the company's customer Aker BP both support the conclusion of the investigation.

The Norwegian authority has now asked Maersk Drilling to explain how the violations of safety protocol will be handled before May 31st this year.

The investigation shows numerous transgressions of protocol. According to the Petroleum Safety Authority Norway's , these include:

  • Planning the work process
  • Design of lifting equipment
  • The use of information and continuous improvement
  • Education and training
  • The use of lifting facilities and equipment
  • Follow-up of enterprise of competence
  • Barriers and cordons

The accident has already triggered harsh criticism of Maersk Drilling by the authority. In January the authority informed that its preliminary investigation had identified safety violations.

Specifically, these concerned "severe deficiencies" related to systems and processes for installing crude water pumps.

More people could been killed

The accident happened when the crew was installing a new crude water pump on the rig, which is on contract with oil company Aker BP in the Tambar field in the Norwegian part of the North Sea.

Four crew members were participating directly in the work, when one person fell into the water, while another was knocked over and fell onto a deck as an accident occurred when lifting the pump. According to the authority, this was caused by the lifting strap slipping off due to overload.

The person who fell into the water later died at a hospital in Bergen.

"Under slightly different circumstances, several lives could have been lost," writes the authority, adding that then accident also had material and financial consequences.

Maersk supports conclusion

Maersk Drilling says in a press release that the company supports the conclusions presented by the authority in relation to the accident.

"Both Maersk Drilling and our customer Aker BP support the findings of the PSA report, which are consistent with those of our internal investigation," writes Maersk Drilling COO Angela Durkin:

"The incident on Maersk Interceptor shocked us all and should not have happened. We have given full cooperation to the PSA investigation and are committed to do everything in our power to prevent a similar tragedy from happening again."

English Edit: Daniel Logan Berg-Munch

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