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Notification of order arising from the investigation of lifeboat incidents on Veslefrikk B and Kristin

The investigation by the Petroleum Safety Authority Norway (PSA) of lifeboat incidents on Veslefrikk B and Kristin in December 2008 and January 2009 has identified a number of regulatory violations. Operator StatoilHydro has consequently been notified that an order will be served on it.

Notification 20. April 2009: The investigation report is now published in English (see link box)

Problems with releasing FF1000S-type freefall lifeboats were identified during testing on the Kristin and Veslefrikk B installations in December 2008 and January 2009.

These incidents led to lifeboats of this type on both installations being taken out of service on 7 January 2009, with a consequent workforce reduction on Veslefrikk B and a workforce reduction and production shutdown on Kristin.

Faults identified during testing have caused no harm to people or the environment.

The potential consequences should it have been necessary to evacuate the installation(s) with the aid of lifeboats during the period between the last test of these craft and their removal from service are likely to have been serious injuries or loss of life. 

That would naturally have depended on the circumstances which might have given rise to a requirement for evacuation.
The findings of the investigation include the following criticisable conditions:

  • Deficient or faulty design of the FFH13 release mechanism.
  • Deficient management of activities for replacing and improving lifeboats on Kristin and Veslefrikk B. Control of these activities was inadequate.
  • Deficient transfer of experience as a basis for improvement measures. Neither the operator nor the manufacturer has taken account of available knowledge about known weaknesses in the FFH13 release mechanism in a way which meets the requirement for systematic gathering, processing and application of experience data.
  • Inadequate discharge of compliance responsibility. Inadequate follow-up of the supplier to ensure compliance with requirements in the health, safety and environmental regulations.
  • Inadequate assessment and analysis. Changes have been made without any analysis of the risk associated with new lifeboats as a complete evacuation system.
  • Inadequate follow-up of safety-critical faults.
  • A deficient testing and maintenance programme.

More detailed information is provided in the investigation report, which is currently available in Norwegian only*.

On the basis of the report, StatoilHydro has been notified of the following order (see the letter sent to the company for further details and legal authority):

  • Replace the release mechanism for the FF1000S freefall lifeboat.
  • Ensure that management of lifeboat projects complies with the regulatory requirements.
  • Establish internal requirements and specifications for lifeboat systems.
  • Implement an integrated assessment of all lifeboat system in use on installations operated by the company on the Norwegian continental shelf.

The deadline for compliance with the order has been set at 1 November 2009. StatoilHydro must notify the PSA when the order has been put into effect.

Chapter 6 of the report details non-conformities in addition to those covered by the notification of the order. The PAS has asked to receive an explanation of how these non-conformities will be handled by 1 June 2009.

By the same date, the PSA also wishes to receive a response concerning the way StatoilHydro will deal with certificates for lifeboat systems and the way it has complied when ordering freefall lifeboats with the requirement to document compliance with the regulatory requirement that it must be possible to evacuate personnel on installations quickly and efficiently to a safe area under all weather conditions.