The follow-up of the free-fall lifeboat situation is linked to a planned test of the lifeboats on Veslefrikk B on June 21st this year, when one of the boats was severely damaged.
Based on the incident on Veslefrikk B, the Petroleum Safety Authority Norway (PSA) took the initiative of obtaining an overview of how many facilities on the shelf have free-fall lifeboats produced by Umoe-Schat-Harding. The overview we requested applied both to skid launched lifeboats (FF 1000 S) and drop lifeboats (FF 1000 D).
During the course of the day on Tuesday, 12 July, the PSA secured an overview which indicates that only Veslefrikk B and Kristin use skid launched lifeboats, while there are also 21 Umoe-Schat-Harding drop lifeboats on the shelf distributed among these seven facilities: Kvitebjørn, Troll C, West Venture, Visund, Oseberg Sør, Valhall and Ekofisk 2/4.
As of today, there is nothing to indicate that the drop lifeboats have faults or defects. Therefore, no immediate measures have been initiated in relation to the seven facilities that use such boats. Nevertheless, a new review of this type of boat will be conducted to verify the quality of the drop lifeboats.
The measures include reducing manning from 125 to 27 persons. This constitutes the safety manning on board. The evacuation plan for the 27 remaining persons includes reduced mobilization time for the SAR helicopter from Heidrun and enhanced marine radar monitoring in the event of vessels on a collision course. In addition, the standby vessel Ocean Fighter is stationed at the facility as an additional precautionary and preparedness function.
The PSA regards these measures as being satisfactory.
According to Statoil's report to the PSA, crew reduction on Kristin will commence immediately. The operator expects to reach the facility's minimum manning during the course of Friday, July 15, 2005.
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