A NTSB investigation into a fatal 2011 liftboat accident in the Gulf of Mexico has found that the owners/operators and charterers failed to assess and prepare for the risks associated with an approaching storm.
On September 8, 2011, the 78.5-foot-long liftboat Trinity II sustained damage from severe weather associated with then Tropical Nate about 15 miles off the Mexican coast in the Bay of Campeche.
As the weather intensified, four crewmembers and six contractors on board the Trinity II were forced to abandoned ship in a lifeboat. By the time rescuers located the survivors three days later, three had died and another was later pronounced dead after being brought to a nearby hospital. The six survivors had also sustained serious injuries.
In their investigation, the National Transportation Safety Board determined that the probable cause of the accident was the failure of Trinity Liftboats, the vessel owner/operator, and Geokinetics, a seismic data services company that was chartering the vessel, had failed to adequately plan for the risks associated with the rapidly developing surface low pressure weather system, which ultimately subjected the elevated liftboat to hurricane-force conditions, causing the stern jacking leg to fail and the onboard personnel to abandon the vessel.
Contributing to the injuries and fatalities, NTSB determined, was the failure of the Trinity II crewmembers to make effective use of the vessel’s available lifesaving equipment, resulting in the personnel’s prolonged exposure to the elements while awaiting rescue.
The full NTSB Report can be found HERE.