Norwegian Investigators Release Report on Accidental Lifeboat Launch

maersk giant drilling rig jackup
Maersk Giant, file image via Maersk Drilling

Norway’s Petroleum and Safety Authority (PSA) says faulty maintenance was to blame for an incident mid-January aboard the jackup rig Maersk Giant where one of the rig’s lifeboats was unintentionally launched.

While testing the lifeboat systems on 14 January 2015, one of the lifeboats unintentionally descended to the sea when the manual brake on the lifeboat winch failed to engage. The PSA says that upon entering the water, the lifeboat drifted beneath the unit and the steel wires holding it were quickly torn off due to the weather conditions.

The Maersk Giant has a total of four conventional davit-lowered lifeboats, of which two are of the Waterman-type with a Schat FDA 101/22 davit installed in 1994 – the type that were involved in this incident.

maersk giant lifeboat
Image via PSA Norway

Weather conditions at the time of the incident were southwesterly winds at 30-37 knots, wave heights of 4.3m Hs and 7.6m maximum. Due to weather conditions, it appears, the lifeboat was not immediately recovered, but rather drifted away from the rig until it reached land at Obrestad, south of Stavanger.

Nobody was in the lifeboat when the incident occurred, and no personnel were injured the PSA says.

The following nonconformities were identified by the PSA’s investigation:

  • These related to maintenance routines for the lifeboat davit system
  • Training
  • Procedures relating to lifeboats and evacuation
  • Periodic programme for competent control and ensuring the expertise of personnel carrying out maintenance work
  • Qualification and follow-up of contractors.

The Maersk Giant is operating as an accommodation until at the Yme Field.  The full report on the incident can be found here.