OFFSHORE | Death reveals Oz safety gap

Originally published in Safety at Sea International, 2010/09/28

AN INQUIRY into the 2008 death of a seafarer has uncovered gaps in regulations covering offshore vessels in Australian waters.

The 45-year-old crewman was killed while severing a mooring line during disconnection of Teekay-operated FSO Karratha Spirit from its CALM buoy off northwest Western Australia, the Australian Transport Safety Bureau said. The accident happened on Christmas Eve as the FSO sought to avoid the approaching Cyclone Billy.

The ATSB found the proper procedures for connecting and disconnecting from the mooring buoy had not always been followed on Karratha Spirit. The difference between the procedures and shipboard practice had not been identified during any shipboard review and the risks associated with this amended practice had not been assessed, it added.

The bureau also discovered that some points of routine operation of FSOs and similar offshore units were not regulated by the National Offshore Petroleum Safety Authority or the Australian Maritime Safety Authority.

The ATSB said Teekay has addressed the minor safety issues arising, while AMSA and NOPSA are both “actively engaged” in resolving the jurisdictional issues together with the federal government.

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