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SUMMARIES OF MAJOR  ACCIDENT REPORTS
(In event order)

THE KULLUK INCIDENT
December 2012
THE COSTA CONCORDIA
January 2012
THE TRINITY II
September 2011
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

 

 

         

Go to 'Publications' to buy any of these books.

DON'T FORGET YOU CAN PURCHASE "THE HISTORY OF THE SUPPLY SHIP", "SUPPLY SHIP OPERATIONS" and "RIGMOVES" HERE FOR £52.50 TOGETHER

FEATURES

  The "Features" section of the website has existed almost as long as the site itself. The sources of the articles have been variable. Your principle scribe produced copy for a number of years for marine and safety journals, but they paid poorly, and would provide a living only for a single man living in a garret, hoping in time to be doing more remunerative things. This is probably why you see the same names of marine journalists all over the place. We also ran a competition for writing,. but it produced few contestants. It is obviously easier to take a picture, and in many ways more entertaining for the visitor. Those entries which we were allowed to keep are shown here under "Creative Writing", and this also includes some work by your editor which cannot be categorised in other ways.

Anyway here are the features produced over the last few years categorised (2008) for ease of access:

 

FOR GLOSSARY OF TERMS CLICK HERE

ACCIDENTS
OPERATIONS
SAFETY
TECHNICAL
CREATIVE WRITING
GENERAL INTEREST

 

 

LATEST

 
THE TRINITY II ACCIDENT
(Victor Gibson May 2014)
The Trinity II was a liftboat, one of two hired by Geokinetics to act as a collecting point for some seismic work being undertaken in the south of the Gulf of Campeche, some 15 miles from the coast in 84 feet of water. The process being carried out was for a number of chartered vessels to lay cables containing geophones on the seabed, and then for one of them to fire of an air gun. The resulting seismic information would be collected on board the liftboats. Geokinetics were working for PEMEX the Mexican state oil company. More
 

SUMMARIES OF MAJOR ACCIDENT REPORTS

 
THE LOSS OF THE OCEAN RANGER
(Victor Gibson May 2014)
The Ocean Ranger was an extremely large and relatively well-found semi-submersible which, in the spring of 1982, was drilling for Mobil on the Grand Banks off the coast of Newfoundland. It had eight columns. The corner columns from which the moorings were deployed were larger than the intermediate columns. Importantly to the enquiry, each of the columns contained three chain lockers which were empty when the rig was moored, More
THE KULLUK GROUNDING. (Victor Gibson April 2014)

On 31st December 2012 the mobile drilling unit KULLUK grounded on a beach on Sitkalidak Island, Alaska, with no injuries or loss of life. The event was investigated by the US Coast Guard and their report published in April 2014. The accident is of particular interest to those who develop emergency plans for the offshore industry since it may be the first loss of tow accident which has reached its conclusion, despite attempts at intervention. More

THE COSTA CONCORDIA REPORT (Vic Gibson 2013) Time flies and it is now eighteen months since the Costa Concordia disaster. And the other day the report by the Italian Marine Casualties Investigative Body was released. One assumes that it must have appeared in Italian and then translated into English. Now I don’t speak Italian so why should I expect the report to be published in English? Well, as far as I know English is the generally accepted international marine language, More
THE BOURBON DOLPHIN ACCIDENT
Vic Gibson (2008)
The Bourbon Dolphin capsized with the loss of the lives of eight of those on board, while carrying out anchor work at the Transocean Rather on 12th April 2007. The accident was investigated by....More
THE LOSS OF THE STEVNS POWER
Vic Gibson (2004)

On 19th October 2003 the Anchor Handling tug Stevns Power was lost with all hands in calm conditions while supporting the pipelaying vessel Castoro Otto offshore Nigeria. The circumstances surrounding this event were investigated by the Danish Authorities, whose report was published...More

THE CORMORANT ALPHA ACCIDENT
Vic Gibson (1992)
At 1950 on 14th March 1992 a Bristows Supa Puma with 15 passengers and two crew members on board took off from the Cormorant Alpha platform and almost immediately crashed into the sea. Only five passengers and one crew member survived...More
THE LOSS OF THE OCEAN EXPRESS
Vic Gibson (2008)
On 15th April 1976 the mobile drilling unit Ocean Express sank in 167 feet of water in the Gulf of Mexico while under tow. Almost all the crew evacuated from the unit in two Whittaker capsules moments before it disappeared beneath the waves. Subsequently one of the capsules capsized and sank with the loss of 13 lives. More
 

THE DEEPWATER HORIZON

THE DEEPWATER HORIZON ACCIDENT- THE PRESIDENTS REPORT
(Vic Gibson 2011 - reviewed 2014)
When investigating accidents there is much talk about looking for “root causes”, and the commission  determined that the failures that resulted in the loss of the Deepwater Horizon and the lives of eleven of the personnel who worked on it, were due to problems endemic in the industry and the manner in which it has been regulated. More
THE DEEPWATER HORIZON ACCIDENT AS IT WAS REPORTED.(Vic Gibson 2010 - Updated May 2014) Amidst further comment and speculation about the progress of the intervention by BP into the reservoir blowout in the Gulf of Mexico we get almost hourly updates on what is happening. The senior BP management continue to say it is not their fault, but of course those who understand something about the way these activities are undertaken, will know that the oil company, even though they may not own the equipment being used, can be responsible for the problem. More
 

MORE ACCIDENTS

 
THE ELGIN GAS LEAK (Vic Gibson 2012) I have only now, on the 15th April, got round to writing about the gas leak which took place on 25th March at the Elgin WHP platform, which is attached to the main platform by a bridge. The Rowan Viking was alongside with its drilling package cantilevered out, doing something, either drilling new wells or working over existing ones. The Elgin platform More
THE GROUNDING OF THE COSTA CONCORDIA (Vic Gibson 2012) I had to get my world atlas out to identify the precise location of Giglio, the island into which the Costa Concordia crashed inadvertently during its cruise this weekend (14th January 2012)

Every week this ship, carrying three thousand passengers and 1000 crew departed from Civitavecchia, a port about twenty miles north of Rome, and made its way northward to the port of Savona and then Marseilles and then Barcelona, Palma Majorca, Cagliari and Palermo before returning to its home port. More
THE LOSS OF THE NORMAND ROUGH
Kenny Polson (2009)
In May 1982 I joined the LB 423 (ex Chotaw II). This was my first job offshore having taken voluntary redundancy from Ben Line Steamers. The LB 423 was a semi-submersible pipelay /derrick barge built 1976 by Blohm & Voss for Santa Fe. It was now owned and operated by Brown & Root. I along with four other Brits were the stability controllers responsible among others for ballasting the barge and the stinger. More
ANOTHER MARINE DISASTER
Anonymous (2002)

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....More

SOMETHING ABOUT THE P36
Vic Gibson (2001)

The world hardly held its breath as the P-36, possibly the most advanced floating production unit in the world gradually heeled over and on Tuesday 20th March 2001 sank beneath the waves of Brazil's Campos Basin. ...More

 

OPERATIONS

 
THE LIFE OF THE OIL MARINER
Vic Gibson (1993)

It is now ten years since the Falklands War. The campaign made military history, the invasion forces sailing from the UK in numbers of British Merchant vessels, and supported by container and cargo ships. Some of these STUFT vessels, Ships Taken Up From Trade, became household names,...More

OFFSHORE TECHNOLOGY AND THE KURSK Vic Gibson (2000)
 


Not for the first time has the versatility and technological capability of the offshore support fleet astounded the military - although in this case the military were the Russian Navy and their own much more limited capability was exposed to the world...
More

SOVEREIGN EXPLORER AND THE BLACK MARLIN Vic Gibson, Paul Love (2001)

Back in April 2001 the Transocean Sedco Forex semi submersible Sovereign Explorer was loaded onto the heavy lift ship Black Marlin in the sheltered waters around Bikinu Fasu, an island off West Africa...More

 

SAFETY

 
THE SAFETY CASE and SEMS  (Vic Gibson 2013) At the beginning of September 2013 I was asked to present a paper at a safety conference in Houston which was mainly concerned with the new rules to which all operators in US water have to conform. These rules relate to SEMS (Safety and Environmental Management Systems) Regulations which have been put in place since Macondo. More
PRACTICAL SAFETY CASE DEVELOPMENT (Vic Gibson 2012) In a number of offshore environments a safety case is required, either by the flag state or by the operator, so rig owners will hire some suitably experienced and expert organisation to produce the required document, and the result will be submitted for admiration and in some cases, approval. More
THE ALARP DEMONSTRATION IN THE OFFSHORE ENVIRONMENT (Vic Gibson 2012)

the UK regulators are really saying that if you are following established rules, guidance and best practice you can consider your risk in carrying out whatever task is being reviewed as ALARP, but first of all you have to decide what hazards are to be assessed. More

PREVENTING FIRES AND EXPLOSIONS ON OFFSHORE INSTALLATIONS
Vic Gibson (2010)
The explosion and fire on the semi-submersible drilling rig “Deepwater Horizon” on Tuesday 20th April 2010, with the loss of 11 lives, and its subsequent capsize and sinking, has prompted me to write something about the manner in which jobs of this sort are usually carried out, and how the related risks are minimised. More
PFEER, DCR AND VERIFICATION
Vic Gibson (2010)
When the original safety case legislation was enacted in 1993 it seems that the law makers thought they had not actually covered everything and so they passed a number of subsidiary bits of legislation in 1995. These bits were the PFEER (Prevention of Fire Explosion and Emergency Response) Regulations, More
PFEER AND THE DACON SCOOP
Vic Gibson (2009)
At the 2009 Scottish TUC conference, BALPA (The British Airline Pilot’s Association) put forward a motion that the Dacon Scoop or other form of mechanical recovery should not be the primary means of recovery in all sea states if a helicopter ditches. This approach was supported by Nautilus whose representative said that...More
HUMAN ERROR AND HEAVY WEATHER DAMAGE
Vic Gibson (2008)
In January 1993 the tanker Braer left Mongstad loaded with 84,000 tonnes of Norwegian crude, bound for Quebec. The ship headed out into the teeth of southerly gale and made slow progress towards the Atlantic. During the 4th January the officers noticed that some pipes which were stowed on the afterdeck had broken free and were hammering back and forth across the deck as the ship rolled. The captain was informed but he decided that nothing should be done until the weather improved. More
LIFEBOATS AND OFFSHORE INSTALLATIONS
Vic Gibson (2008)
In an industry which is fixated with acronyms, lifeboats have not escaped, and since the most commonly installed are totally enclosed, to cope with the possibility of fire on the sea surface they are known as “TEMPSC” (Totally Enclosed Motor Propelled Survival Craft), although in this article they will continue to be called “lifeboats”, because, lets face it, that’s what they are...More
MORE ABOUT PFEER
Vic Gibson (2003)
The PFEER Regulations, together with the Design and Construction Regulations (DCR) make up what to most is probably a rather obscure area of the UK offshore legislation – that is, even more obscure than the Safety Case Regulations. The results of these different bits of legislation are the PFEER Assessment...More
THE OFFSHORE SAFETY REGIME – FIT FOR THE NEXT DECADE
Vic Gibson (2003)

 On 27th November the Oil Industry in the UK held a one day conference to consider the future of the Safety Case. 

It started with breakfast. Disappointingly there were no fried eggs, and so those of us who now normally eat a healthy breakfast due to pressure from our partners More

THE SAFETY CASE AND ITS FUTURE
Vic Gibson (2002)

As a result of the accident on Piper Alpha on 6th July 1988 when 165 people died a Public Enquiry was held under the chairmanship of Lord Cullen, a Senator of the College of Justice in ScotlandThe enquiry sought to answer two questions- More

JIGSAW
Vic Gibson (2000)

One assumes that the proposal by BP to replace a large number of standby vessels, or as they are now known Emergency Response and Rescue Vessels, with six helicopters was named "Project Jigsaw" because the project would put all the pieces together.....More

COLLISION RISK MANAGEMENT
Vic Gibson (2000)

 

In January 2000 the UK Health and Safety Executive published a report entitled "Effective Collision Risk Management for Offshore Installations".

 The problem, as the HSE sees it, is that ships may crash into the North Sea's platforms.............More 

SHUTTLE TANKER COLLISIONS
Vic Gibson (1999)

There has been increasing concern in the last two or three years over the apparently increasing number of incidents involving FSPOs and shuttle tankers during offloading activities. In 1997 the HSE, the UK Health and Safety Executive published their own investigations....More

A GOOD PROSPECT OF RECOVERY
Vic Gibson (1998)
In the 1950s "a good prospect" might have been a mother's opinion of her daughter's boyfriend, but in the 1990s the phrase has almost fallen into disuse except to those whose job it is to ensure conformance to the PFEER regulations. More
 

TECHNICAL

 
THE HISTORY OF THE UT704
Vic Gibson &Torleif Martin Klokset (1991)

The UT704 is probably the most prolific supply vessel type ever built, and may only be exceeded in numbers as a ship type by the American Liberty and Victory ships built during and after the Second World War.... More

THE PETERHEAD CONNECTION
Vic Gibson (1992)

In the village which is the oil community in Aberdeen rumors have abounded throughout the year of some sort of liner or groupage service, for the purpose of distributing cargo to installations of different operators from one base. It is not the first time.... More

GOODBYE KISS
Vic Gibson (1997)

Firstly the KISS principle, is a means of construction which ensures that a supply vessel built in the Southern States of America can be maintained with only a modicum of effort and expertise, and virtually without backup, anywhere in the world.  More

USES FOR NEW SHIPS
Vic Gibson (1998)

Back in the mid 1980s one could see stickers plastered on the walls of the pub lavatories and on the back bumpers of ever other car in Aberdeen. "God give us another oil boom. This time we promise we won't piss it away".

 So, time will tell whether the Scots are keeping their part of the bargain,..More

SUPPORTING DEEPWATER DRILLING
Vic Gibson (1999)

The oil industry has been drilling holes in the seabed for about 40 years. In its first 20 years offshore it moved from about 60 ft of water to 600 feet. In the next 10 years it moved from 600 ft to 2000 ft and in the last 10 years the move has been from 2000 ft to 6000 ft. More

JACK-UP MOVING - AN OVERVIEW
Vic Gibson (2000)

Maersk Contractors recently announced that they have ordered what they call an "ultra harsh environment jack-up" from Hyundai Heavy Industries in Korea, with delivery scheduled for late 2002. More

SEISMIC SURVEYING
Vic Gibson (2000)

The movement of the oil industry into the sea has, over the years, required mariners to develop whole new areas of skill. Possible one of the most unusual tasks is that of seismic survey, which used to consist of towing two miles of cable behind a small ship....More

BREAKING THE ICE
Vic Gibson (2001)

The arrival of the Vidar Viking in Aberdeen during April of 2001 was something of a finale. She is the third of a trio of Moss808s (Formerly Kmar808s) built for B&N Viking and is in the main identical to her two sister ships...More

TANK CLEANING AND THE ENVIRONMENT
Vic Gibson (2002)

It is amazing to those of us who have experience of the use of tank cleaning machines, firstly in oil tankers and latterly in the tanks of support vessels, that there are not more used on oil rigs....More

MORE ABOUT MUD TANK CLEANING
Vic Gibson (2003)

When oil based mud was first developed in the 1970s, the supply vessels of the day were not fitted with purpose built tanks, and initially the product was carried in converted fuel tanks. The result was that little of the product actually reaching the oil rig...More

DATATRAC
Vic Gibson (2003)

There will be many seafarers, still at sea who remember the fair copy log book. We all used to scribble our words at the end of the watch, in the knowledge that some-one was going to do better. Those of us who had the misfortune to be assigned to ships crossing the North Atlantic in winter....More

TANK CLEANING IN 2004
Vic Gibson (2004)

The environmental regulations which prevent the disposal of used drilling fluids to the sea and the unfortunate death of a tank cleaning operative in Peterhead during 2003, have motivated North Sea operators to have a good look at the means of cleaning out the tanks of support vessels without putting people into them. Regardless of the process used, if the mud is in the ship for more than a few days........More

GlOSSARY OF TERMS
Vic Gibson (2009)
Many of the readers of this site are not mariners and there are also those who are not involved in the offshore industry, so this glossary is included here. It is one of the appendices in "Supply Ship Operations" but items can be added at the request of our readers...More.
 

CREATIVE WRITING

 
AN UNUSUAL INVESTIGATION
Brian Kenefick

I had investigated marine accidents ranging from cruise ship fires to swamped kayaks on Canada’s west coast, but the most bizarre one of all looked straight forward at first.....More

GAIA AND OIL POLLUTION
Ahmed A Khan

More than two decades ago, James E. Lovelock proposed the "Gaia" hypothesis: The biosphere of earth acts as a single organism.....More

THE TRUE PRICE OF OIL
Clive Brook

It’s twenty-five years ago when I was last on a rig.  It was not my job, just circumstance that put me there. March 27th 1980 was not a bad day on the west coast of Scotland, at least, not a bad day compared to what we usually got....More

ICEBERGS AND ANCHOR-HANDLERS
Ted Caucutt

Every year in the calving grounds of Greenland’s glaciers, 20,000 to 40,000 icebergs are born.  Carried north on the currents, they circle Baffin Bay before appearing in the North Atlantic the following season.  Fewer than 500 drift south to menace shipping and oil installations....More

ATLANTIC SOS
John Wright

Why would you give your children away to strangers unless it was to save their lives?
      The parents of the 3,500 children evacuated from Britain in the summer of 1940 to escape from the bombing must have clung to this logic,...More

THE GREATEST INFLUENCE
Vic Gibson

Whenever the ship was working cargo the "old man", that's the name we seafarers have for the captain, used to expect the mate of the watch and the apprentices to open the hatches. A desire prompted by the wish to save crew overtime. The crew would have been really pleased to get out there at seven in the............More

HOW IT USED TO BE
David Wilkie

Back in the early days of oil industry when working hours legislation was not in existence the practices undertaken were to some extent, in my own opinion unlawful to say the least. The drilling industry is hard, rough and time is money......More

HOMEMADE PIZZA
Barley Pickle

You could have been forgiven for wondering who or what the “Caister Nostra” was, but everyone on board the ship was quite clear regarding the current situation.

Mal was just saying “ You go up Fullers hill and.......”, when the Chief , a Geordie, broke in. More

GOODBYE FAR TURBOT
PeterBarker
Recent S&P lists have reported the sale of the Far Turbot to the Far East. Just another ageing yet still useful anchor handler starting out on the next chapter of her life. There is however one chapter that her new owners should know about. More
THE SHIP MANAGER
George Horsington

I am an odious little jerk. But I am not alone, as most ship managers fall into this category, generically, if not personally. At least I am sure that is what David Ogilvy would think of us.

 I have never commanded a ship in my life. I have been to sea for a rig move. More
RUNNING AGROUND
Vic Gibson

Before he got to the bridge the Captain could smell the heat of the Indian morning. The odour was a mixture of dried wood, tar, diesel oil and very faintly overlaying it all, the musky smell of tropical blossoms. More

A COOK'S TALE While surfing the internet the other day we came across the plaintive tale of Scotty the Cook. This is just as he has written it apart from a little editing. Some-one should take pity on him, or get him to teach a creative writing class..More
NAVIGATING THE CHANNEL
Vic Gibson

On the south side of the entrance to Aberdeen harbour, marking the inner end of the channel,  there is a small breakwater projecting northwards, and like a thumb on a right hand a small mole sprouts from the shoreward end of this breakwater. This curious extremity is topped by a capstan..More

THE CAPTAIN'S LETTER
(Who knows)

Lacking any further entries so far for our writing competition we have included this well known letter to which the response from the shipping company head office was always traditionally "We fail to understand.....".More

 

GENERAL INTEREST

 
THE SEALAUNCH PROJECT
Vic Gibson (1998)
Older readers of this magazine may remember the American comedian Bob Newhart whose speciality was a monologue where he was apparently talking to some-one, usually over the telephone, or sometimes to some-one who would not be expected to answer ..More
GHOST SHIPS OF HARTLEPOOL
Vic Gibson (2003)

For the first time in my life I have been on the verge of texting, emailing or calling radio stations as they provided information about and commented on, the slow progress of the Canopus and the Caloosahatchee towards the UK in general and Hartlepool in particular...More

BEAM HIM UP SCOTTY
Victor Gibson

So John Wils has come to the conclusion that the oil industry is rather dull and the oil show, Offshore Europe, to give it its full title is “the same old routine” . And...More

Q790
Victor Gibson
I had never heard of Q790, so I had a look on the internet and found that Q790 is in fact the hull which was formerly the French aircraft carrier Clemenceau, apparently known affectionately as "le Clem". This warship entered service in 1961 and according to one of the French press releases sailed a million miles, More
THE BILBAO OSV CONFERENCE
Vic Gibson (2009)
Spanish shipyards have not really been acknowledged as centres for the construction of offshore support vessels, but on 23rd April 2009, the yards themselves made an effort to change this by holding a conference on OSVs in the Bilbao Exhibition Centre. .More
   

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