Details emerge in fatal offshore accident (Australia)

The Australian Transport and Safety Bureau (ATSB) is investigating a fatal accident on board anchor handling tug supply (AHTS) vessel Skandi Pacific, 166 km NW of Karartha, WA (on the Northwest Shelf). 

To remind, the accident occurred yesterday on the 2011-built AHTS Skandi Pacific owned by DOF.

According to ATSB, during the early hours of July 14, Skandi Pacific stopped working cargo with the drilling platform Atwood Osprey due to heavy weather.

The ATSB further explained that, while attempting to shelter from the weather and secure cargo, a wave came over the back deck of the vessel and shifted cargo. A crew member was attempting to secure cargo when he was crushed between a moving mini-container and a cargo skip. He was removed to the nearby drill platform to receive medical assistance, but died of his injuries.

As part of the investigation, the ATSB said it will collect evidence from relevant parties on the ship and ashore. The evidence will be used to prepare a draft investigation report for comment before the completion and release of the final report.

According to the Maritime Union of Australia (MUA), the worker’s name was Andrew Kelly. He was 39.


“The offshore industry is an inherently high safety risk environment, the highest in the country and the world”


MUA added that Kelly leaves behind a wife and four children, all under the age of ten, including a six-month-old baby. The union has arranged for Hunterlink Recovery Services to provide counseling for those who were onboard at the time.

MUA National Secretary Paddy Crumlin said it was a “sad and tragic day”.

“My and all the MUA’s thoughts are with the Kelly family in particular along with his workmates on this unfortunate day,” Crumlin said.

“The offshore industry is an inherently high safety risk environment, the highest in the country and the world, due to the isolated and unstable nature of seagoing work and the 24/7 requirements placed on seafarers.

“It is unfortunate this area of essential national regulation has been treated as a political football by the Federal Government and Australian Mines and Metals Association (AMMA) in advocating the open-slather use of unregulated overseas labour, working outside of Australian workplace standards and jurisdiction,” he said referring to the Abbott Government’s attempts at allowing foreign workers without a visa access to offshore projects.

According to MUA, the Government has twice, through Assistant Immigration Minister Michaelia Cash, bypassed the Senate and ignored the determination of the Federal Court in issuing obscure legislative instruments to allow the offshore workers into the industry without a visa.

Seafarers under pressure

“This situation places unconscionable additional pressure on those Australian seafarers currently working in this high-risk, but essential national industry,” Crumlin said.

“This tragedy should be a timely punctuation for pause for those advocating the deregulation of the industry through legislative and other contested avenues and return to policies of good governance, ensuring long term confidence in Australia as an offshore hydrocarbon producer.

“The MUA will be working with the employer and workplace regulators to ensure the causes of the incident are fully identified and rectified as required.

“Again, our deepest sympathies are extended to the Andrews family, and pledge any support that may assist them in their deep grief.”

Offshore Energy Today reached out to the vessel owner yesterday seeking more info; however, we are yet to receive a response.

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