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Order after investigation of Stena Don lifting incident

The Petroleum Safety Authority Norway (PSA) has issued orders to Stena Drilling AS (Stena) and FMC Kongsberg Subsea AS (FMC) after a lifting incident with personal injury on Stena Don which occurred on 6 June 2009.


This semi-submersible drilling unit was working on the Statoil-operated Åsgard field in the Norwegian Sea when the serious incident occurred.

A riser section just over 11 metres long and weighing 1.24 tonnes came loose from the securing device about 12 metres above the deck, bounced off a manipulator, fell onto the spider on the drill floor and hit the head and neck of a service technician.

The latter was briefly knocked unconscious. He was sent ashore on a search and rescue helicopter for further investigation and treatment, but discharged on the same day.

In addition to light personal injuries, the incident caused some damage to the drill floor. Insignificant changes to the course of events could have led to loss of life and extensive damage.

Direct and underlying causes
The investigation has found that the direct cause of the accident was that the riser section had not been locked in the securing device when it was lifted.

Identified underlying causes of the incident include deficiencies in the design and maintenance of the securing device as well as in training, expertise, planning and execution and work supervision, and procedural breaches.

Conditions which should primarily have prevented this incident include:

  • lifting must not take place when people are present beneath suspended loads
  • design of the securing device
  • education and training
  • compliance with procedures.

On the basis of the investigation report’s findings, the PSA issued notifications of orders to Stena and FMC. The orders issued now accord with these notifications.

Order to Statoil after the Heidrun incident
The order issued to Statoil after a serious lifting incident on Heidrun on 15 April 2010 (link) refers in part to the accident on Stena Don.

Relating to all drilling operations on fixed installations and mobile units with the company as operator, the order to Statoil accordingly also covers criticisable conditions revealed by the investigation into the Stena Don incident.

For that reason, no separate order has been issued to Statoil in the wake of this accident.

Order to Stena
In accordance with the notification, the following order is issued.

Pursuant to the section 3 of the management regulations relating to the management of health, safety and environment and section 20 relating to handling of non-conformities, confer section 58 of the framework regulations relating to individual decisions, Stena Drilling AS is ordered to:

1. Establish a binding plan designed to 

  • identify the underlying causes of the non-conformities listed in chapter 5.1 of the report which are relevant for Stena Drilling
  • implement measures to avoid repetition.

2. Carry out measures as identified in the plan.

The deadline for compliance with part 1 of the order is set at 1 July 2010.

The deadline for compliance with part 2 of the order is set at 1 December 2010.

The PSA must be notified when the order has been complied with.

Order to FMC
In accordance with the notification, the following order is issued.

Pursuant to the section 3 of the management regulations relating to the management of health, safety and environment and section 20 relating to handling of non-conformities, confer section 58 of the framework regulations relating to individual decisions, FMC Kongsberg Subsea AS is ordered to:

1. Establish a binding plan designed to

  • identify the underlying causes of the non-conformities listed in chapter 5.1 of the report which are relevant for FMC Kongsberg Subsea
  • implement measures to avoid repetition.

2. Carry out measures as identified in the plan.

The deadline for compliance with part 1 of the order is set at 1 July 2010.

The deadline for compliance with part 2 of the order is set at 1 December 2010.

The PSA must be notified when the order has been complied with.

Order and notification of order
An order is a administrative decision made pursuant to the regulations.

Before the PSA makes an order, it usually issues a notification of order to the companies concerned.

A notification of order is neither a measure nor a warning of sanctions, but part of the PSA’s administrative process as specified in its established procedural rules.

The notification is merely a first step before an administrative decision is made.

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