Only Two Facilities on the NCS Have Skid Launched Free-Fall Lifeboats

A preliminary overview indicates that only Veslefrikk B and Kristin, both operated by Statoil, have so-called skid launched free-fall lifeboats of this type and make on the Norwegian shelf. Statoil has now submitted a report concerning compensating measures, one of which is cutting the number of personnel on Kristin.

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.

Compensating measures
The problem with the skid launched lifeboats entails a need for compensating measures on Veslefrikk B in order to carry out normal production and on Kristin in order to continue preparations for start-up of the field. Kristin is not currently in production.

Veslefrikk B:
Veslefrikk B has conventional lifeboats in addition to the free-fall lifeboats. These are currently part of the emergency preparedness on the facility. In order to compensate for the lack of the free-fall boats, Veslefrikk B is now being operated with reduced manning (maximum 85 persons). In addition, weather restrictions and clear activity restrictions have also been introduced.

As regards Kristin, on 13 July Statoil provided the PSA with an account of the compensating measures based on the three free-fall lifeboats being temporarily out of service.

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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