Erik Means

Anthea Pitt

Sales & Marketing

UpstreamOnline.com: Lifeboats trouble at Brent field

SHELL’s safety record on its Brent Bravo platform in the UK Northern North Sea is once again under scrutiny after the discovery of technical problems with two lifeboats on the installation that resulted in both of them being removed from service, writes Christopher Hopson.

Jake Molloy, general secretary of the Offshore Industry Liaison Committee, told Upstream that in the past two to three weeks technicians had discovered problems with the clutches and brakes on one of the lifeboats, which means it was not held in place as it should have been.

“If they had loaded up this particular lifeboat, the chances are it could have been launched into the sea in an uncontrolled fashion which would have caused death or injury as it was held in place by corrosion and not by the designed system,” claimed Molloy.

Problems have also been found with a second lifeboat on Bravo.

Last year a lifeboat launched itself into the sea from Shell’s Tern platform as the brakes and clutches were dysfunctional.

The boat went under the platform and ripped the launch mechanism off the platform.

Last October the company outsourced maintenance of the boats to an outside contractor after terminating a long-running contract with Wood Group that had maintained them for many years.

Shell confirmed that problems had been discovered with two lifeboats on Brent Bravo during routine maintenance.

“These two lifeboats, known as secondary lifeboats, are not normally utilised in the platform evacuation plan,” shell said.

“They were immediately secured and removed from service. However, this did not impact on platform manning, as these are secondary craft.”

Shell said it viewed the matter seriously and has mobilised an investigation team on the platform. The technical authority has been involved throughout.

The Health&Safety Executive said: “Both lifeboats have now been repaired and Shell has checked that all the lifeboats on Brent Bravo are fault free and fit for purpose. Shell is now checking the boats on the rest of its Brent field.”
14 March 2008 00:02 GMT | last updated: 14 March 2008 00:02 GMT