The Petroleum Safety Authority of Norway (PSA) said Thursday its investigation into an unintentional lifeboat launch off the Mærsk Giant earlier this year revealed five safety ” nonconformities.”

A lifeboat was unintentionally launched from the mobile Mærsk Giant on January 14 during a test of the unit’s lifeboat systems.

The PSA said personnel tried to stop the launch by activating a manual brake on the lifeboat’s winch but the braking system failed.

The lifeboat was empty when the incident occurred and there were no reported injuries.

The boat fell into the water and drifted beneath the Mærsk Giant, tearing off steel wires attached to the lifeboat.

The lifeboat eventually drifted away from the mobile unit, accompanied by a standby vessel, and reached land at Obrestad south of Stavanger, the report said. 

The PSA said the incident was directly caused by a “reduction in the braking effect” of the lifeboat winch brake caused by “faulty adjustment.”

“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,” the PSA said.

The agency found that if the lifeboat had started to descend during an actual evacuation a “partially filled lifeboat could have reached the sea without a lifeboat captain on board.”

The PSA also said it “considers it likely that people would have been at risk of falling from the lifeboat or the muster area should a descent have begun,” a scenario that could possibly cause fatalities.

Five regulatory nonconformities were identified by the investigation ranging from issues with maintenance routines for the lifeboat davit system, training, lifeboat and evacuation procedures, maintenance issues and problems with the “qualification and follow-up” of contractors.

Mærsk Giant is operated by Maersk Drilling Norge, a subsidiary of Denmark-based Maersk Drilling.

The PSA said it has asked the company “to describe how these nonconformities will be dealt with.”

No fines or penalties have been imposed on Maersk Drilling.


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