The Bureau of Safety and Environmental Enforcement (BSEE) has issued its Report into the August 29, 2021 incident involving the Noble Globetrotter II which was unable to evacuate during Hurricane Ida. At the time, the drillship was in the Mississippi Canyon (MC) Block 809. The ship was performing work at the time for Shell Offshore Inc. As a result of the inability to evacuate, 115 people on board were exposed to severe weather conditions during Hurricane Ida.
According to BSEE report, the vessel attempted to pull risers from the water in order to avoid the approaching storm. The report summarizes the timeline of events during the incident:
1. The well is currently secured with an RTTS packer set and tested. The Sub-Sea Blow Out Preventer (SSBOP) was left on the well the Blind Sheer Rams (BSRs) closed and locked.
2. Riser was displaced on 8-27-21 at 0630
3. LMRP was unlatched and the NGT II made it to safe zone and began to pull riser. Problems encountered while removing riser bolts.
4. Pulling riser until 8-28-21, decision made to stop pulling riser and hang off 12 riser joints and the LMRP.
5. Trying to evade Hurricane Ida 0.5 knots, increased speed to 3.0 knots and the NGT II was losing ground against the winds/waves.
6. On 8-29-21 at 0130 NGT II was being pulled back towards Hurricane Ida and thought they may have lost the LMRP and riser at that time.
7. Currently cofferdam around moon pool has water and will be checked for damage.
8. Rig is located in a safe area, MC 422 and remain here to access all damage.
The BSEE investigation determined that temporary abandonment procedures were delayed as a result of the decision to conduct a crew change on the vessel. The drill crew on the vessel was already short-handed, working with only one crane operator. The crew change delayed the abandonment procedures by a couple of hours.
The BSEE report determined the contributing causes of the incident:
The Operator and Contractor monitored storm forecasts waiting on notification of a direct path rather than following operational T-times already calculated relative to current well operations and potential Extreme Weather Event.
Inadequate Planning prevented the drill crew from pulling marine riser and LMRP in time for the Drillship to evade/evacuate Hurricane Ida.
The decision to crew change during the TA operation with weather approaching delayed an operation already hours behind schedule and resulted in a failed evacuation/evade attempt.
Hydraulic Torque Wrench breakdowns and stuck riser bolts delayed pulling riser and LMRP.
Safe offshore and maritime companies must make plans ahead of time when severe weather is expected. In the days leading up to a powerful storm like Hurricane Ida, non-essential personnel should be evacuated for their own safety. Platforms and wells must also be prepared for the severe weather. Failing to adequately prepare for the high winds and wave conditions beforehand can result in tragedy.
Our attorneys have extensive experience in maritime injury and wrongful death litigation in courts across the country and the skills needed to represent the families of loved ones who have lost their lives as a result of the negligence of another party, or been seriously injured. We have handled numerous cases involving injuries that occurred following fires or explosions on offshore platforms. The experienced offshore accident attorneys at Spagnoletti Law Firm can help you understand your rights if you or a loved one was a victim of an offshore accident. Please contact us online or call 713-804-9306 or 877-678-5864 to learn more about your legal rights.