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Investigation report on Mærsk Giant lifeboat incident

The investigation by the Petroleum Safety Authority Norway (PSA) into the incident on Mærsk Giant of 14 January 2015, when a lifeboat was unintentionally launched to the sea, has now been completed. Several breaches of the regulations were identified.


A lifeboat was unintentionally launched from the mobile unit Mærsk Giant at about 05.10 on Wednesday 14 January 2015.

This incident occurred during testing of the lifeboat systems.

During testing, one of the lifeboats unintentionally descended to the sea. Efforts were made to activate the manual brake on the lifeboat winch, but it was not working. The lifeboat entered the water and drifted beneath the unit. The steel wires holding it were eventually torn off.

After the incident, the lifeboat drifted away from Mærsk Giant, accompanied by a standby vessel. The lifeboat eventually reached land at Obrestad south of Stavanger.

Nobody was in the lifeboat when the incident occurred, and no personnel were injured.

The PSA quickly resolved to conduct an investigation. This aimed to clarify the course of events, the direct and underlying causes, and the actual and potential consequences, and to identify possible breaches of the regulations.

Direct cause
The investigation has established that the direct cause of the incident was a reduction in the braking effect of the brake on the lifeboat winch owing to faulty adjustment.

Potential consequences
Should the manual brake fail during maintenance with people in the lifeboat, or during an actual evacuation, serious personal injury or deaths could have been suffered.

Should the lifeboat have begun to descend during an actual evacuation, a partially filled lifeboat could have reached the sea without a lifeboat captain on board. The PSA also considers it likely that people would have been at risk of falling from the lifeboat or the muster area should a descent have begun. The potential consequence could be fatalities.

Nonconformities

Five nonconformities were identified by this investigation. These related to

  • maintenance routines for the lifeboat davit system
  • training
  • procedures relating to lifeboats and evacuation
  • periodic programme for competent control and ensuring the expertise of personnel carrying out maintenance work
  • qualification and follow-up of contractors.

Mærsk Giant is operated by Maersk Drilling Norge. The PSA has now asked the company to describe how these nonconformities will be dealt with.

Øyvind Midttun, Press contact
Email: oyvind.midttun@ptil.no | +47 51 87 34 77