Saipem Crane Ship Takes on Heavy List After Rigging Failure
A lifting accident with one of the world’s largest semisubmersible cranes caused tense moments in Norway as onlookers feared the vessel might be sinking. The Norwegian authorities are reporting that the Saipem 7000 has now been stabilized after having listed during an accident that caused the vessel to drop its load.
Built in 1987, the Saipem 7000 can lift up to 14,000 tons and can operate in waters with depths of over 6,500 feet, giving it “the capacity to handle the entire work scope of offshore construction," according to its Italian owners. In 2019, the Saipem 7000 set a new local heavy lift record of 11,100 tons for the Gulf of Mexico.
The vessel was positioned in a Norwegian fjord in Åmøyfjorden a center for Norway's offshore oil industry near the Port of Stavanger when the accident occurred. It is unclear what the vessel was lifting when bystanders reported hearing a loud noise, which police reports now indicate was the failure of one of the cables on the lifting crane. The authorities reported that the load was lost hitting the deck and a barge positioned alongside the crane ship. The barge capsized but remained afloat. Luckily it appears there was no crew on the barge.
Rescue at sea. Ongoing situation— Sea & son (@OnDeepWater) April 14, 2022
One of the biggest Crane vessels in the world, tilting after a sudden explosion 20 min's ago. 275 ppl on board #Stavanger #Åmøyfjorden #Norway #Saipem7000 #MaritimeSecurity pic.twitter.com/dM8LePv8Dd
The sudden loss of the load caused the crane ship to list to one side with onlookers calling police and rescue squads reporting that the vessel appeared to be sinking in the fjord. The rescue service HRS Sør-Norge responded and reported that “a lot of public resources were put on standby.” Helicopters were seen arriving at the crane ship and a tug was positioned alongside.
The Saipem 7000 had recently completed an overhaul in Rotterdam after operating at the Seagreen offshore wind farm that is currently under construction near Scotland and owned by SSE Renewables and TotalEnergies. Some reports indicate that the crane ship was preparing to return to the wind farm construction.
Local authorities reported that they were in contact with the crane ship, which had 275 crew aboard, and said that there were no injuries. By later on Thursday, they reported that the vessel had been stabilized and was back on an even keel. The safety authority was surveying the area to determine if there had been any environmental pollution and said they would investigate the cause of the accident.