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Open stern offshore support vessels

Issue number: MO-2015-005-SI-03
Who it affects: All owners and operators of offshore support vessels
Issue owner: DOF Management, Norway
Operation affected: Marine: Shipboard operations
Background: Investigation Report 322-MO-2015-005
Date: 23 November 2016

Safety issue description

Skandi Pacific’s managers had not adequately assessed the risks associated with working on the aft deck of vessels with open sterns, including consideration of engineering controls to minimise water being shipped on the aft deck.

Proactive Action

Action organisation: DOF Management
Action number: MO-2015-005-NSA-004
Date: 23 November 2016
Action status: Closed

Following the accident, DOF management submitted a ‘safety flash’ to the offshore industry organisation, International Marine Contractors Association. The safety flash summarised key safety matters and the accident, allowing wider dissemination of lessons learned to the industry. The company also undertook to conduct of a risk assessment for anchor handling tug supply (AHTS) vessels conducting cargo operations. The risk assessment was to include considering engineering controls to minimise excessive water on the vessel back deck (for example, stern door or other vessel type).

Subsequently, DOF Management advised the ATSB that the existing risk assessment for offloading deck cargo at installation had been reviewed and updated to include a section regarding risks associated with securing cargo. The company indicated that it had assessed and mitigated risks associated with vessels with open stern.

ATSB response:

The ATSB acknowledges the proactive safety taken by DOF Management. However, the ATSB considers further action is necessary to adequately address the risks associated with the use of vessels with open sterns, including the engineering controls to minimise shipping seas on the aft deck proposed in the company’s response. Therefore, the ATSB has issued the following recommendation and safety advisory notice.

Recommendation

Action organisation: DOF Management, Norway
Action number: MO-2015-005-SR-006
Date: 23 November 2016
Action status: Monitor

The Australian Transport Safety Bureau recommends that DOF Management take further action to adequately address the safety issue concerning the use of vessels with open sterns.

Correspondence

Date received: 22 November 2016
Response from: DOF Management
Action status: Monitor
Response text:

In relation to the recommendation, a further risk assessment and a risk familiarisation were prepared.

The scope of the familiarisation extends to (amongst other things), the use of appropriate barriers when the open stern is not in use, consideration of the freeboard of the vessel, trim and ballast of the vessel, speed through water, limits and trigger points and that work is to be stopped if seas are shipped on deck.

Date received: 21 February 2017
Response from: DOF Management
Action status: Monitor
Response text:

DOF Management have advised the ATSB they have continued to take further action to reduce risk on board vessels with open sterns including:

  • improved and refined risk assessments and risk familiarisations
  • revised internal guidelines and procedures in respect of its cargo operations
  • prepared a feasibility study on wave barrier action on anchor handling vessels and subsequent trialling of a two piece - swing type wave barrier gate on board one of their vessels
  • joining an offshore industry working group and identified areas for consideration and improvement across their industry.

Safety Advisory Notice

Action organisation: Masters, owners and operators of offshore support vessels
Action number: MO-2015-005-SAN-005
Date: 23 November 2016
Action status: Closed

The Australian Transport Safety Bureau advises the masters, owners and operators of all offshore support vessels to ensure that the risks associated with working on the aft deck of vessels with open sterns are adequately assessed. MO-2015-005-SAN-005

Additional safety action

Whether or not the ATSB identifies safety issues in the course of an investigation, relevant organisations may proactively initiate safety action in order to reduce their safety risk. The ATSB has been advised of the following proactive safety action in response to this occurrence.

DOF management advised the ATSB that a marine risk awareness presentation titled SAFE the RITE WAY and a safety handbook have been developed and implemented. A lessons learned communication plan from this accident are included in the SAFE the RIGHT WAY induction and presentation. Presentations have been delivered both externally to industry partners and forums and internally via mandatory DOF induction training.

   
Current issue status: Partially addressed
Status justification:

The ATSB acknowledges the proactive safety taken by DOF Management following the issue of a recommendation that DOF Management undertake take further action to adequately address the safety issue concerning the use of vessels with open sterns.

The further proactive safety action included:

  • bridge familiarisations for open stern vessels
  • amended SMS procedures specifically related to adverse weather and cargo handling
  • risk assessments for working stern to weather, loading/off loading at installation and securing deck cargoes.

Additionally, in late 2016, DOF joined an offshore industry working group and identified areas for consideration and improvement across their industry. The areas including cargo shift, cargo securing manuals, offshore skip bins and open stern vessels.

Further, DOF Management are trialling a swing type wave barrier gate.

Therefore, the ATSB will continue to monitor the safety issue/action subject to receiving notice of the result and final outcome.

 
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Last update 12 May 2017