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Audit of the condition of deck cranes on Ula and Tambar

During the period 12-15 November 2007 the Petroleum Safety Authority Norway (PSA) audited the technical and operational condition of offshore cranes at BP Norge AS' (BP) facilities on Ula and Tambar. Following the audit, it is our impression that BP manages the technical condition of the deck cranes in a satisfactory manner.

The audit was carried out through a limited inspection and functional testing of the offshore cranes, review of the reports following expert inspections over the last year, as well as a review of the company's maintenance system to verify how registered nonconformities following the annual inspection are followed up.

In addition, we observed lifting operations, interviewed personnel taking part in lifting operations and surveyed areas where loose lifting equipment was stored.

Background for the audit
The background for the audit was primarily to verify compliance with the regulatory requirements related to technical safety, working environment and maintenance. No incidents or special conditions were the cause of the audit.

Purpose of the audit
The purpose of the audit was to verify that BP complies with requirements set down in regulations, standards and internal company documents in relation to the technical and operational condition of the offshore cranes.

Result of the audit
It is our impression that BP manages the technical conditions of the six deck cranes subjected to the audit in a satisfactory manner, even if it was observed that deadlines for closing orders from the expert inspection were not always complied with.

The personnel responsible for technical condition of the cranes appeared to possess good expertise and detailed knowledge of the cranes.

The established system for carrying out periodical expert inspections and following up orders appeared to be well implemented and functioning well. Orders which could not be closed within the deadline set by expert authority were subjected to nonconformities handling.

All requested documents such as certificates, annual reports or other technical documentation were available either electronically or as paper editions. However, instances of lacking updates of available documents were observed.

One instance of nonconformity from the regulations was observed:

The crane is not secured against erroneous activation of the "Wave Following"* mode switch when there is a load on the hook which may cause the load to fall uncontrolled.

*"Wave Following" is a mode which can be described as a constant tension –  wave compensation system. Activation of the system causes the crane winch's maximum holding power to be set at approx. 1.5 tonnes and the winch lets out or pulls in automatically according to the load on the hook.

In addition, we identified some potential improvements.