Transocean’s ultra-deepwater semisubmersible rig, Sedco Express (EXS), was working offshore Nigeria for customer ENI when it received news of a nearby fuel tanker on fire. What ensued that day showed the company’s core value of safety in action, as the Sedco Express crew played a vital role in coordinating a rescue effort for 13 lives.
On Tuesday morning, May 7, the bridge crew received a report from one of the field security vessels (FSVs) that the Tanker Okiki had caught fire about eight nautical miles east from the rig. The tanker was in the area in order to offload fuel to supply vessels so installations operating in that block could be refueled.
FSV Abraham was dispatched to the scene and Captain Romulo Oliveira and his EXS team assumed the role of on-scene coordinator for the response and ultimate rescue of the crew. Mayday-relay messages sent by the rig were acknowledged by MV Al-Kat which promptly proceeded to the distress location. Al-Kat engaged in remote firefighting after the crew abandoned the tanker.
Of the 14 crewmembers reported on board of MT Okiki, 13 were safely rescued from the sea by FSV Abraham. The survivors were transferred to the Sedco Express where they were checked by the rig medic and provided with dry clothes and basic needs. The crew arranged for two helicopters to take the survivors into town for further medical checks. The missing man has not been found despite the efforts of the vessels during the search and rescue operations.
“The key to the effective assistance during this difficult situation was good coordination of the situation by the EXS team and the full support received from our customer deploying every available resource at the time,”said Jelle Gepkens, OIM, Sedco Express. “The timely response combined with the team spirit has truly saved lives.”
The Nigerian Maritime Administration and Safety Agency, NIMASA, the equivalent of the coast guard in some countries, gave the rig an, “Attaboy!” in quick appreciation of bringing 13 crew members safely to land.
“The entire crew of the Sedco Express performed safely, efficiently and quickly to help rescue 13 people,” said Gabriel Oramasionwu, Transocean’s Managing Director, Gulf of Guinea. “I am proud of how the crew acted without hesitation, using the resources available to save the tanker crew members. Thank you for displaying to our customers and partners that everyone’s safety is a priority at Transocean.”