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Saipem: Need to tighten control

The Scarabeo 8 rig developed a list when drilling in the Barents Sea this autumn because of inadequate management of staffing and expertise by owner Saipem, according to a PSA investigation.




This article was originally published in
Safety - Status and Signals 2012-2013

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This semi-submersible unit was working on an exploration well for Eni when the
incident occurred because a valve on one of the ballast tanks was unintentionally opened.

That happened at 15.00 on 4 September. The upshot was that the tank filled with water and caused the unit to develop a seven-degree list.

There were 140 people on board at the time. The alarm was sounded, and all personnel mustered to their emergency stations.

No danger
The incident never posed any danger that the rig would capsize, and the PSA did not consider that it presented a major accident risk.

But the regulator nevertheless took a serious view of what had happened, and initiated an investigation confined to Saipem’s management and assurance of staffing and expertise.

The report identified deficiencies in key requirements for acceptable operation. These include processes for ensuring compliance with requirements for expertise on safety-critical functions, utilising information of significance for safety, and risk management.

Responsibility
Shortcomings identified concerned management follow-up, compliance with internal requirements for ensuring expertise, and dealing with nonconformities, including risk assessment.

On that basis, the PSA ordered Saipem to review how it ensures control of processes and compliance with its own rules on staffing and expertise, and to take necessary action.

The company was also required to implement measures which assure its general management of processes and compliance with health, safety and environmental requirements.