Friday, April 25, 2008

Report on the loss of the "Bourbon Dolphin"

Article in The Norway Post by Rolleiv Solholm 29 March 2008.

"It is not possible to show that an individual error, whether technical or human, led to the loss of the anchor-handling vessel “Bourbon Dolphin” on 12 April 2007." 8 people died and 7 survived the accident.

The Commission's report concludes that a series of circumstances acted together to cause the loss of the vessel. The proximate causes were the vessel’s change of course to port (west) so as to get away from mooring line no. 3, at the same time as the inner starboard towing pin was depressed, causing the chain to rest against the outer port towing pin. The chains altered point and angle of attack on the vessel combined with its load condition and the fact that the roll reduction tank was probably in use caused the vessel to capsize.

A combination of weaknesses in the design of the vessel, and failures in the handling of safety systems by the company, by the operator and on the rig, are major contributory factors. System failures on the part of many players caused necessary safety barriers to be lacking, were ignored or were breached.

Recommendations include in the future requirements are made for the preparation of stability calculations subject to approval by the authorities, formal training of winch operators, a review of requirements for survival suits, plus placement and installation of rescue floats. Safety management systems and risk assessments must be improved, there must be routines for overlap of new personnel and identification of the necessary crew qualifications, plus the preparation of vessel-specific anchor-handling procedures.

Operators’ rig move procedures must be made specific for every operation and be simple to understand for those operating under them. Operator and rig must prepare risk assessments for the entire operation before it is commenced. When the operation is executed, safety and coordination must be continuously evaluated. The Commission also proposes that an attention zone be introduced along the anchor line, indicating a maximum distance within which the vessel shall remain when running out anchors.

Andy Brazier

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