DP Incident Raises Safety Issue
Offshore support vessel Toisa Perseus with, in the background, the fifth-generation deepwater drillship Discoverer Enterprise, over the Thunder Horse Oil Field. Both are equipped with DP systems.
The Bureau of Safety and Environmental Enforcement (BSEE) and U.S. Coast Guard issued a joint Safety Alert on Tuesday addressing a dynamic positioning incident that occurred on a vessel resulting in a loss of position. Both agencies share jurisdiction over vessels that perform this type of Outer Continental Shelf activity and are using the Safety Alert to highlight the interaction between a vessel’s Safety Management System and a leaseholder’s Safety and Environmental Management System (SEMS).
BSEE is strongly recommending that leaseholders/operators consider Coast Guard recommendations for dynamic positioning vessels when evaluating potential hazards and establishing and implementing contractor safe work practices in their SEMS program. BSEE is also reminding leaseholders/operators of their critical role in ensuring safety and environmental hazards associated with contracted vessels on their lease.
In reviewing the incident, an equipment failure, an operational error and multiple failure modes not identified in the vessel’s Failure Modes and Effects Analysis combined to produce the loss of position. Consequences such as personal injury, environmental pollution or catastrophic damage were averted because of the successful actions taken by the crew, who performed an emergency disconnect from the well in accordance with established procedures.
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