Bourbon Dolphin capsizes

Discussion in 'Stability' started by Crag Cay, Apr 12, 2007.

  1. Raggi_Thor
    Joined: Jan 2004
    Posts: 2,457
    Likes: 64, Points: 0, Legacy Rep: 711
    Location: Trondheim, NORWAY

    Raggi_Thor Nav.arch/Designer/Builder

    The Norwegian Maritime Directorate (Sjøfartsdirektoratet) will revue the rules and regulations for this kind of work. The hearing revealed that the ship was too small for the job...The Directorate will discuss this in a meeting Friday May 4.
  2. safewalrus
    Joined: Feb 2005
    Posts: 4,742
    Likes: 78, Points: 0, Legacy Rep: 659
    Location: Cornwall, England

    safewalrus Ancient Marriner

    I don't give a said it, as to your funny little signs I haven't a clue what they mean nor do I care to; nor your stupid comment about "chilling out" so go play.......coonarse!
  3. safewalrus
    Joined: Feb 2005
    Posts: 4,742
    Likes: 78, Points: 0, Legacy Rep: 659
    Location: Cornwall, England

    safewalrus Ancient Marriner

    Raggi - interesting comment that, considering that many years ago much smaller boats were doing much the same work in the same area - if only on the initial surveys! Having said that it's good to see that at least somebody is taking account of the size of the gear being used and the depths of water being drilled in! the Only thing that saddens me is the fact that it takes a tradegy like this to make them act! It could have been done BEFORE people were killed - ever thus unfortunately! And it will at least give the families some cold comfort that their men (they were all 'men' even the 14 year old Skippers son) did not die in vain! Just sad that they did!
  4. lazeyjack

    lazeyjack Guest

    you know I WASvery lucky to get of that Theriot tug alive You see all they did was tell ****** jokes on the bridge but trouble is they were NOT joking, a few had actually been to hangings, and I was very vocal, having grown up with darker races inNZ
    yes I suppose you have come a long way I got fired from Theriot, the operation manager on shore, said he would get me a engineers job any other company, but I quit cos I was so tired it made me seasick from lack of sleep, we had to do 12 on and 12 off, hrs that is that bloody boat, the tanks were so bad, towing hard I had to change filter every 20 mins . Its a small world is it not, well what do you do know I know you were kidding bout Norway
    Norwegians are lkight years ahead of you guys , as far as things like submersibles and rescue, look at Kursk disaster
    keep posting
  5. Raggi_Thor
    Joined: Jan 2004
    Posts: 2,457
    Likes: 64, Points: 0, Legacy Rep: 711
    Location: Trondheim, NORWAY

    Raggi_Thor Nav.arch/Designer/Builder

    Walrus, I think it's a psychological issue also, we are always searching for reasons that can easily be fixed or improved, like a mechanical failure, "holes" in the rules etc. BUT, by feeling here is that the main reason is found in the communication on board and between the ships, the captain shouting at the others.
  6. Raggi_Thor
    Joined: Jan 2004
    Posts: 2,457
    Likes: 64, Points: 0, Legacy Rep: 711
    Location: Trondheim, NORWAY

    Raggi_Thor Nav.arch/Designer/Builder

    More from NRK (Norwegian Broadcasting),

    The other captain, he was off duty, on the other shift, said that Bourbon Dolphin was hired for this job as an assistant vessel. The company that chartered the boat didn't think it had enough power to do it alone. When Highland Valour missed the chafe, they should have called for another vessel to assist.
  7. Guillermo
    Joined: Mar 2005
    Posts: 3,644
    Likes: 188, Points: 63, Legacy Rep: 2247
    Location: Pontevedra, Spain

    Guillermo Ingeniero Naval

    Hey, Mike, mate! Take it easy! A lot of interesting contributions have been made in this thread, yours and acearch72's among others. Let's behave, as this matter and the debate are being most interesting. Let's not spoil it.
    Cheers. :)
  8. StianM
    Joined: May 2006
    Posts: 593
    Likes: 23, Points: 18, Legacy Rep: 114
    Location: Norway

    StianM Senior Member

    It would have ben befour, but now brattvaag is sold to rolls royce and not a part off the Ulstein concern annymore. Lately they have ben doing some work with Odim so I gues they use Odim winch.
  9. smartbight
    Joined: Dec 2006
    Posts: 112
    Likes: 8, Points: 0, Legacy Rep: 55
    Location: London

    smartbight Naval Architect

    A few additional details, here and there.

    Geir Syversen, the second officer on the fated Bourbon Offshore Norway anchor handling tug supply (AHTS) vessel Bourbon Dolphin today told a maritime inquiry of a catalogue of errors in the last hours before the AHTS capsized while working at the Rosebank field, west of Shetland.

    Syversen told the inquiry, which is sitting in Aalesund, that the Bourbon Dolphin almost collided with the Gulfmark Offshore AHTS Highland Valour before the capsize on 12 April.

    He also told how the Highland Valour hooked up to the anchor chain the Bourbon Dolphin was releasing after failing to connect to it four times. Syversen added that the Highland Valour had then sailed in the opposite direction to the course it was instructed to follow.

    "The rig said first: 'What are you going to do now to get out of the situation you have put the Bourbon Dolphin in?' He (the captain of the Highland Valour) answered that he would try to hook up to the chain again," Syversen said.

    "The rig rang us and said that whatever we did we must not drift towards anchor number three's position. At that point we had 1800 metres of chain out. It was 1655 and we had 290 tonnes of tension on the winch. The boat then made a big shift to port."

    At this point Syversen said the first officer called for a shift in the ballast to starboard. At 1700 the Transocean Rather called the Bourbon Dolphin and suggested removing the starboard guide pin.

    "I could sense that the captain and the first officer didn’t like the idea, but they didn’t tell the rig that. I think the skipper got the picture. The captain and the first officer decided to do it, the tension was then at 330 tonnes. The captain tried to release it, but because of all the tension it would not move.

    The captain then steered the boat a few degrees to starboard in an attempt to make it easier to release the pin.

    "It appeared there was a small drop in tension, and the first officer tried to drive down the inner pin. The chain rushed across to the portside outer towing pin, then it went over the side of the boat. The vessel was listing hard to port as well as drifting quickly to port. Most of the cargo deck had disappeared under water," Syversen said.

    Syversen told the inquiry he thought the time was about 1703.

    "There was a phone call from the engine room, I think it was the chief engineer, saying that both the main engines to on the starboard side had stopped."

    He added it was the first officer who spoke to the engine room.

    "He hung up and the boat shifted about 90 degrees. I said: 'I'm going now'. But before I could, the captain asked me to press the emergency release button.

    "So I sat in my place again because after that all the chains were meant to be released so the boat could right itself again," he said.

    The inquiry leader asked Syversen: "It was an emergency button?"

    "Yes. It releases everything attached to the boat. It can happen so quickly that it almost rips the winch from the boat. But nothing happened. When I started to climb to the starboard door, I saw that it was releasing only about 12 metres of chain per minute."

    "There were six of us on the bridge. Me, the first officer and an able seaman stood were closest to the door so we tried to open it. We had a lot of trouble doing so, but finally got it free.

    "The last I saw of the bridge was the skipper, his son and another sailor going down to the port side.

    I stood outside the bridge door with the first officer and began climbing up the hull on the starboard side. And then, the boat went under," the 37-year-old said.

    The inquiry will now hear from Syversen's crew mates Per Jan Vike and Egil Atle Hafsaas. The Bourbon Dolphin's alternative captain Frank Reinersen will also give evidence.

    The inquiry continues.


    The Domino effect was in full swing and problems stared mounting for the Bourbon Dolphin, when the Master decided that emergency measures were required, he asked the Chief Officer to use the quick release system to get rid of the anchor chain, but it was not so quick and by then the Chief Engineer called up to say that the engines had stopped.
    By this stage hope was out for the ship and it had listed over on its side 90 degrees port side down.


    Sean Dickson who helped rescue three of the seven survivors from the Bourbon Dolphin. He is pictured here on deck of the Highland Valour in front of the capsized vessel.
    Photo: Sean Dickson

    A SHETLAND man has spoken for the first time about how he helped pluck three stranded crew members to safety after the Bourbon Dolphin capsized.

    Highland Valour second mate Sean Dickson, 37, was on deck when he saw the anchor handling ship capsize half a mile ahead of him last Thursday.

    On the day of the tragedy the Highland Valour was waiting nearby to take hold of a chain which the Bourbon Dolphin had attached to the oil rig Transocean Rather. Mr Dickson remembers looking at his watch around 5.10pm then having a brief conversation with a fellow crewman before he went out on deck to prepare for hooking onto the anchor chain.

    Nothing could prepare him for what he was about to witness.

    The Bourbon Dolphin was listing sideways at 45 degrees.

    "She hung there for a couple of seconds but then she just kept going," said Mr Dickson. "I realised then she had passed the point of no return. At that point I turned and ran."

    He ran halfway up the stairs screaming at the top of his voice "the Dolphin has capsized". Almost at once he could hear chairs screeching back from the canteen and the crew were aware of what had happened within seconds.

    The ship's alarm bell was sounded and Mr Dickson and two other colleagues threw on their survival suits and life jackets ready to jump in the rescue boat.

    "By the time I got upstairs they had the rescue boat unlashed and ready to launch. We waited a minute until the ship got closer to the Dolphin. I couldn't see anything at that point because I was on the other side of the boat."

    Mr Dickson and the other two men had a UHF wireless and a VHF radio so they could keep in constant contact with the crew on the Highland Valour.

    Once the 14-foot rescue boat was launched Mr Dickson caught sight of three men clinging to a large plastic storage tank with wire frame around it.

    With winds up to gale force seven and seas of up to three metres the small boat was battered by the elements.

    Holding the three men firmly in their sights they reached them several minutes later.

    Around 100 metres away from the men Mr Dickson could see another rescue boat picking people out of the water, and even further away three others could be seen in a life raft.

    They could see the men were safe in the life raft so their priority was to pull the three in the water to safety as soon as possible.

    "They had life jackets on and were just really blyde to see us. They were uninjured, cold and frightened. We dragged them in one at a time over the side."

    Breaking down, Mr Dickson told how one of the men threw his arms around him as soon as he was in the rescue boat and thanked him profusely.

    As there were six people in the small rescue boat and the other men seemed to be safe they gestured over to the other rescue boat that they were returning to the Highland Valour. Those in the rescue boat gave Mr Dickson and the rest of the men a thumbs up to indicate it was fine to leave.

    "It took a few minutes to get back because it was pretty heavy seas. Because we were bouncing around a lot we tried to get hooked back on to the crane so it could lift us up.

    "We didn't manage the first time because it was so rough so we turned around and got the skipper to move the boat and give us a bit more lee. Then we went back in and they had the ladder ready for us.

    "The boys were shivering like hell by this stage and really cold. I mind one of them saying he had never been so cold in all his life. One of them jumped on to the ladder. I tried to hold on to it to keep it in position, but with the heavy seas I had to let go.

    "He held on though and was just dangling off it. We eventually got on and they lifted us up."

    The decision was made not to go back out. Conditions were poor for the rescue boat to handle in and there did not seem to be anyone obvious who needed help.

    "One of the stand-by boats was heading out and the trip out had been pretty borderline for us. We left the boat ready to launch in case we had to go out again and I went out to the wheelhouse with a pair of spyglasses and kept a watch for the next one and a half hours.

    "I did see something orange in the water a good distance from us, but it was just a piece of debris."

    Mr Dickson saw very little of the three men he had helped save after this but he was aware that they had been taken to the hospital area and were being looked after by other members of the crew.

    "After an hour or so helicopters turned up and I think they took ones out of the water. They got towards the upturned boat to see if there were any survivors but we could see nobody."

    The following hours remained tense, frantic and left the crew of the Highland Valour in a state of shock.


    Ship tragedy shocks sea engineer
    By Adrianne Maslen
    LYME REGIS sailor Dominic Bujniewicz has spoken of his shocking ordeal as he watched the Norwegian vessel, the Bourbon Dolphin, just after it capsized off the coast of Shetland.

    The accident on Thursday claimed the lives of eight crew members on board the anchor-handling tug.

    Mr Bujniewicz, a third engineer officer, was working in the engine room aboard the MV Highland Valour and was just metres away from the stricken tug when the incident happened.


    He and his crew, along with four other ships, were working in the north Atlantic doing anchor patrolling for the Transocean Rather rig.

    Visibly shaken, the 23-year-old, who lives in Cobb Road, described the scene as they set about trying to rescue survivors.

    "It was fairly heavy weather," he said.

    "Even though the news said it was calm, that was rubbish.

    "We were about a mile away from the rig and we came in to assist with the anchor-patrolling operation - we were no more than 100m away from the Bourbon Dolphin, and we were the only ship who knew what happened.

    "I came up from the engine room just after it capsized and she just went straight over.

    "The general alarm went off and the second mate came running in from the deck, shouting that the Bourbon Dolphin had capsized.

    "I just saw the Dolphin upside down and lots of things floating around in the water.

    "I legged it back down the patrol room, getting stuff sorted, getting blankets and getting the on-board hospital ready for the survivors.

    "The rescue craft was launched with three men in, and they rescued three of the lads, who were holding on to an oil drum.

    "We brought them on board and gave them first aid in the on-board hospital.

    "Luckily, those three survived and they were helicoptered off in the end.

    "Other ships also came in helping with the rescue, searching for people.

    "That sea is freezing cold.

    "The three men we rescued had hypothermia - two of them were young lads.

    "They were all in shock and they were happy all right to be rescued."

    This was the first time he, and most other people on board, had dealt with an emergency of this kind and Mr Bujniewicz hopes they won't have to deal with one again.

    "I hope I don't see something like this again," he said.

    "I was very scared - everyone was."

    But they were well prepared, having been trained in all aspects of safety, including fire fighting, sea survival and first aid.

    "We have to be," said Mr Bujniewicz. "There is no one else out there."

    Mr Bujniewicz, a former pupil at Woodroffe School, returned to his home in Lyme Regis on Sunday night and he is now looking forward to a five-week break before going back to study in Southampton.

    He is training to be a second engineer at the Warsash Maritime Academy and hopes to eventually become a chief engineer, proof he has not been put off by such a horrific experience.

    "I'm happy to be home," he said. "My mum was certainly happy.

    "She knows I will go back anyway but she still worries.

    "I have always loved the sea because I have lived here all my life.

    "This is the first time this has happened in the North Sea - it is just a freak thing.

    "I am not going to stop going to sea. I would take it as experience and I would be much more aware in a situation like that.

    "I think that's the way to look at it. I can't say I'm not going back to sea again - I will just take what I have learnt from it and hopefully it will help me in the future.

    "It has been a shock.

    "I'm not so bad now but at the time it was pretty bad."

    In the meantime, his mother Vivian, will keep a watchful eye over her son.

    She said: "I had a phone call about 7.30 that night to let me know there was an incident and Dominic was fine, and Dominic rang at about 9.30pm.

    "He seems fine and we are glad to have him home.

    "I was a bit worried about how it might affect him but only time will tell."

    12:46pm Thursday 19th April 2007
  10. Guillermo
    Joined: Mar 2005
    Posts: 3,644
    Likes: 188, Points: 63, Legacy Rep: 2247
    Location: Pontevedra, Spain

    Guillermo Ingeniero Naval

    Here the very clarifying story from Shetland Today:

    "JUST before the capsize the Highland Valour should have assisted the Bourbon Dolphin during the last but most critical phase of the anchor handling operation. They didn't manage it.

    In the two hours before the Bourbon Dolphin capsized the crew in the wheelhouse experienced that the problems gradually mounted up. The pull from the chain increased according to the length that was given out.

    At around 15:00 hours they had out in total 1,500 metre of anchor chain. The load on the winch on board the Bourbon Dolphin was then 180 tonne. They called up the Scottish anchor handling vessel Highland Valour to ask for assistance. The purpose was that Highland Valour should connect to the chain and take part of the load away from Bourbon Dolphin in the last phase of the giving out of chain.

    During yesterday's inquiry the first mate Mr Geir Syversen on Bourbon Dolphin described the operation called grappling. Normally it is routine work. Highland Valour let out 750m of wire with an anchor-like tool on the end of it.

    By manoeuvering approximately 200m behind the stern of Bourbon Dolphin the Highland Valour tried to get hold of the anchor chain. This attempt failed. The second time they tried it the instrument in the wheelhouse of Bourbon Dolphin showed that a pull from the chain suddenly decreased. At the same time Highland Valour reported that they were connected to it. Consequently the Bourbon Dolphin continued to let out the chain with a speed of between 20-25m a minute.

    After two to three minutes they registered a small increase in tension on the instrument panel. At the same time the Highland Valour reported that they had lost grip of the chain, Mr Syversen said. The two ships drifted towards one another. Only by giving full throttle forward the chief mate on the Bourbon Dolphin avoided a collision. After this happened a discussion took place between the towmaster on the rig Transocean Rather and the officers on the two anchor handling vessels.

    The captain on Bourbon Dolphin suggested that they maybe needed one more vessel to assist. But it was decided that the Highland Valour should make one more attempt. Half an hour after they lost grip on the anchor chain they tried to connect to it again. The first four attempts failed. Only at the fifth attempt they managed it. Time had now elapsed since Highland Valour lost grip on the chain. In this interval the chief mate on Bourbon Dolphin used all he had of engine power to keep the ship in the correct position. At 15:45 hours came the first of several concerned telephone calls from the engine room. It was the first engineer who asked that the use of the thruster was reduced. The engines were in the process of overheating.

    When Highland Valour had connected to the anchor chain again they were told from the rig to pull towards north west to reduce the tension on the Bourbon Dolphin and make this ship able to lay out the last 300m of chain.

    The Scottish vessel instead started to pull in the opposite direction. The result was that Bourbon Dolphin was pulled towards port, and at the angle of the chain became very unfavourable.

    Only after the captain on Bourbon Dolphin called the Scottish vessel and asked if they didn't know the difference between north west and south east the Highland Valour changed to the right course.

    Then they lost control of the chain again. "We experienced a colossal increase of tension. It was very clear that something had happened," said Mr Syversen.

    Now the Bourbon Dolphin started to list a little towards port. Without somebody helping to take the load of the chain the ship could no longer stay in the right position. Even with the use of all engine power and all the thrusters they drifted towards anchor number three. At any cost this had to be avoided.

    After Highland Valour lost the grip last time there was some discussion over the radio. The towmaster on the rig called up Highland Valour and asked them "what they were thinking to do to get out of the situation they had put us in. The answer came quite quietly, we will try to grapple again," Mr Syversen said.

    At 16:50 hours a new call came from the engine room to the bridge. The chief engineer said that if the use of the thruster were not immediately reduced he would be forced to disconnect in order not to destroy the engines. At that moment of time the captain took over the manoeuvering of Bourbon Dolphin. The chief mate started to pump ballasts from port towards starboard in order to straighten up the listing. At 16:55 hours the tension on the winch on board Bourbon Dolphin was 290 tonne. The chain was running between the two towing pins on the starboard side of the aft deck. The outer port towing pins were raised as a safety precaution.

    On the rig Transocean Rather they understood now that the situation started to become difficult.

    "They suggested that we should lower the inner starboard towing pins I saw by the facial expression of the skipper and the chief mate that they didn't like the thought of it. They discussed it a few minutes. Then I think the skipper understood the idea behind the suggestion. They agreed to lower the pin. The chief mate pulled the handle on the panel but nothing happened. The load of the chain on the pin was too high so it could not be lowered," Mr Syversen said.

    After a few seconds the captain managed to change course some degrees towards starboard. The tension on the anchor chain was reduced a little so that it was possible for the chief mate to lower the pin. After that things happened very quickly.

    The chain rushed towards the port side where it was stopped by the outer port towing pins. Bourbon Dolphin listed heavily towards port. Mr Syversen saw great parts of the cargo deck disappear under the water.

    The time was now 17:03 hours.

    Again they phoned from the engine room. The chief engineer reported that both the starboard main engines had stopped. Minutes later the Bourbon Dolphin had capsized."
  11. safewalrus
    Joined: Feb 2005
    Posts: 4,742
    Likes: 78, Points: 0, Legacy Rep: 659
    Location: Cornwall, England

    safewalrus Ancient Marriner

    It would appear to me that several mistakes contributed to this disaster! Whilst I would not claim to be absolutely correct on this, with a limited experience I will state the following -

    for the depth of water the boats chosen for the job were not up to it! It happens, more often than we'd like to admit (I have memories of several hundred metres of rig anchor chain rushing past me at a great rate - some two feet away! No I couldn't move because on the other side at about the same distance a 54mm wire was bouncing up and down about six feet very quickly - it was connected to the chain! because the "boat was not up to the job" and that was back in the seventies - things ain't changed then have they!!)

    There appears to be a certain lack of experience all round - not just on the 'Highland Valour' but generally including the rig (normal!) Grappeling for the chain with the 'J' hook should NOT have been carried out with that weight on it! Put it on the bottom! then try! As shown it's a risky business at best, AND it's easy to loose the chain as well (they did - just look at the configuration of the hook and you'll see why)! Ok the 'Valour' shouldn't have gone the wrong way but its an easy mistake to make in rough weather, short experience trying to remember everything at once! the Master will have to live with that for the rest of his life!!! Yes he f**ked up, but I don't think it's all his fault! but you know he's going to carry the can for this!! The pins should not have been dropped - the master and steersman of the 'Dolphin' were not happy but see my earlier posts! Put on the 'spot' by somebody who was trying to help but probably hadn't been on the deck of a supply boat during a rig shift!! Unfortunately that mistake cost them dearly - in the skippers case very!!!

    And the sad thing? The job goes on....... some poor ******* is out there as we speak doing the same thing again because the world needs oil! Well actually the world could do without it! some very rich people couldn't because it takes away their power! Sorry about that, get upset at times about numpties killing poor bloody seamen!!
  12. lazeyjack

    lazeyjack Guest

    some very interesting and imformative posts thanks, puts one right on the bridge, I can feel the tension just sitting here
    Walrus I have to disagree on your view abt Highland Valour
    Even without intruction abt which direction to pull, surely it would have been very obvious which way to pull, without intruction?
  13. Guillermo
    Joined: Mar 2005
    Posts: 3,644
    Likes: 188, Points: 63, Legacy Rep: 2247
    Location: Pontevedra, Spain

    Guillermo Ingeniero Naval

    I tend to quite agree now with Mike's (and others') opinion the ship was not good enough for the loads involved. On top of this the combinated two ships pulling-grappeling manoeuvre looks as being pretty risky in anything other than flat seas. I'm wondering if there are stablished protocols for these kind of manoeuvres...Are there?

    On the flooding issue, I still do not discard it may have happened, contributing to the definitive turning over. Those reported seconds of staying listed at about 45 deg. may mean the ship was still resisting with some positive righting levers, as per smartbight posted IS curves, but water massively entered the port air duct intake (most probably located at that height) contributing to the final and definitive lack of all remaining stability, if any. Not necessarily such amount of water (a few dozens of tons may have been enough to make the small remaining righting arms vanish) would have made the ship sink inmediately. It could have been floating inverted for several hours, as it did. Anyhow this is totally speculative, and probably we'll never know.
  14. lazeyjack

    lazeyjack Guest

    but surely, 2things made her founder
    One--- they let the pin go
    She was put under stress by not being ably assisted

    and three the emergency load dump failed
    I have not been on that scene for years but how much bigger ships are availble I mean are there biigger ships other than all out and out salvage tugs?

  15. rayk
    Joined: Nov 2006
    Posts: 297
    Likes: 15, Points: 0, Legacy Rep: 146
    Location: Queenstown, NewZealand.

    rayk Senior Member

    Hello all, I have been reading this thread daily.
    I felt so sad reading the reports of the hearing today.
    Like a work of fiction, each small mistake built on the last, leading up to the dramatic and unavoidable conclusion.

    I know all of us have been under pressure to finish something on time, and we have taken a risk to pull it off. Especially the last 'thing' to finish the job.
    Safety and procedures are always trumped by haste and balls.

    There were just way too many things conspiring against the Bourbon Dolphin that evening.
Forum posts represent the experience, opinion, and view of individual users. Boat Design Net does not necessarily endorse nor share the view of each individual post.
When making potentially dangerous or financial decisions, always employ and consult appropriate professionals. Your circumstances or experience may be different.