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Drillship Breaks Moorings in Heavy Weather in Scotland

Mike Schuler
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February 4, 2021

A drill ship broke its moorings at a terminal in southwest Scotland on Tuesday night and drifted into a channel before its crew was able to drop anchor and restore power to the vessel.

The HM Coastguard said it received a mayday call just after 7:20 p.m. local time Tuesday reporting that the drillship had started drift without power. The Valaris DS4, with eight crew on board, had just broken loose from its mooring in heavy weather at Hunterston Terminal in Ayrshire, Scotland, where it had been stacked since the end of last year.

The Coastguard said the crew was able to drop its anchors to control the drift and eventually restore power. AIS data shows the ship remains anchored in the channel near the terminal as of today.

RNLI lifeboats were also called to assist. The agency reported that winds on scene were reported to be 40 to 60 knots with a rough sea and sleet.

A second drillship moored at the terminal, the ENSCO DS-8, also required assistance and was held in position by four tugs.

Media reports say the incident sparked panic because vessel was drifting near a nuclear power plant’s cooling inlet at the Hunterston Power Station, however it does not appear that the drillship posed any threat to the plant.

Valaris’ latest fleet status report, published in April 2020, showed the Valaris DS-4 as being under Preservation Stacking status.

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