Laid-Up Drillship Breaks Away From Moorings on Firth of Clyde

friends of the clyde
Tugs and response vessels attend the Valaris DS-4 in the Firth of Clyde, Feb. 2 (Friends of the Clyde)

Published Feb 3, 2021 9:14 PM by The Maritime Executive

On Tuesday night, a Valaris drillship broke away from her moorings at a terminal at Fairlie, Scotland, a small village on the Firth of Clyde. 

In foul weather, the drillship Valaris DS-4 broke away from the pier at Hunterston Terminal and drifted out into the channel. At the time of the casualty, her engines were shut down, and the eight-person skeleton crew on board deployed her anchors to stop her. The effort was successful and she temporarily moored several hundred yards off the pier. 

"The engines have now been restored and the ship's technical managers are working with the port authority to return the ship to a place of safety," HM Coastguard said in a statement. "A moored vessel at the terminal has also required assistance in the worsening weather and is currently being helped to hold its position by four tugs."

The vessel's technical shipmanager, Noah Ship Management, said in a statement that the moorings had parted due to high winds. "The vessel remains in position in the Hunterston Channel, safely anchored and with her engines and thrusters operational, should they be required," the company said. 

According to the RNLI, conditions on scene were easterly winds of 40 to 60 knots with a rough sea and sleet.

Valaris DS-4 was demobilized from the Gulf of Guinea in 2020 and has been moored at Fairlie since the end of December. Her operator, Valaris, is one of the many offshore drilling companies to undergo bankruptcy proceedings since the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic. The firm delisted from the NYSE and filed for Chapter 11 protection in August, and it is currently negotiating with its creditors on a restructuring plan.