Norwegian maritime authorities are promising full-scale investigations into the stormy drama in the North Sea last week that set off evacuations and led to the first fatality on the Norwegian Continental Shelf since 2009.
Authorities want to know how a barge could have been set adrift in the storm North Sea last week, threatening several oil installations. If the barge had crashed into them, it could have caused serious injuries, fatalities and oil spills.
Authorities are also looking into how a man working on board another oil installation in the North Sea was killed in his own living quarters after a monster wave crashed into the accommodation rig COSL Innovator. It was located at Statoil’s Troll oil field in the North Sea when the wave hit, and the victim was a 53-year-old man from Oslo who worked for Aker Solutions in its subsea division.
Both dramas occurred during stormy weather that swept over both the North Sea and much of Norway during the Christmas and New Year’s holidays. The storms were severe, but at least one labour leader and industry officials are shaken by the accidents. “This is not supposed to be able to happen,” Hilde-Marit Rysst of the labour organization Safe told newspaper Dagens Næringsliv (DN). “Installations and vessels out there (in the North Sea) are supposed to be built to tolerate the forces that actually rule. This was not an exceptional weather situation.”
Norway’s oil industry safety authority Petroleumtilsynet stated in a press release that the goal of the investigation is to chart the chain of events, identify what caused them and evaluate actual and potential consequences. Maritime authorities at Sjøfartsdirektoratet will also launch an official inquiry.