Photo: Deepsea Atlantic rig; Source: Odfjell Drilling

Following probe into lifting incident on rig, Odfjell tasked with addressing nonconformities

Norwegian offshore safety regulator has finished investigating a lifting incident on one of Odfjell Drilling’s rigs, currently working for Equinor off Norway, and is awaiting a response from the rig owner regarding the way the identified nonconformities will be handled.

The Petroleum Safety Authority Norway (PSA) informed on Monday that it had completed its investigation of a lifting incident on the Deepsea Atlantic drilling rig, which occurred on 8 May 2022, when a 35.2-tonne slip joint unintentionally ended up on the seabed. According to the PSA’s report, nonconformities have been identified, and a letter with the enclosed report has been sent to Odfjell.

The regulator explained that this incident occurred in connection with a lifting operation from the Stril Mar supply ship to the Deepsea Atlantic rig. During a lift from the vessel to the facility, the load dropped out of control before striking the Stril Mar’s bulkhead and landing on the seabed.

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The safety watchdog’s investigation shows that the planning and execution of the lifting operation were inadequate as the crane was operated outside its design criteria, in addition to having the wrong settings. Since this lifting incident resulted in material damage to the offshore crane, the slip joint and the ship’s bulwark, the starboard offshore crane was out of action for a time after the incident.

According to the PSA, the load could have fallen with full force against the ship’s deck or the bulwark and caused greater material damage to the ship under slightly different circumstances. However, the safety regulator outlined that the incident did not pose a potential for personal injury and it is considered unlikely that the slip joint could have caused damage to subsea structures.

While conducting its investigation, the PSA identified several breaches of the regulations. The four nonconformities that the regulator found include inadequate safety clearance of activities; safety system for offshore crane; deficiencies in weight information for the slip joint; and use of an offshore crane.

Additionally, the offshore safety watchdog’s report includes an improvement point related to the design of the procedure for heavy lifting.

As the PSA’s investigation has now been completed, the regulator has asked Odfjell Drilling to explain by 28 October 2022 how these nonconformities will be dealt with and provide an assessment of the observation where a potential for improvement exists.

The 2009-built Deepsea Atlantic is a sixth-generation deepwater and harsh environment semi-submersible, dual derrick, dynamic-positioned rig of enhanced GVA 7500 design.