Update: Valaris Drillship Collides with Bulk Carrier in Pascagoula, Mississippi

Bartolomej Tomic
Monday, March 14, 2022

A Valaris drillship hit the Akti bulk carrier ship on Saturday, after breaking free its moorings near the VT Halter Shipyards and Chevron docks in Pascagoula,  Mississippi. 

At around 1:30 a.m. Saturday, Coast Guard Sector Mobile watchstanders received a report from the National Response Center of a collision between two vessels. 

Per the Coast Guard, Valaris' a 752-foot drillship, reportedly broke free of its moorings due to high winds and collided with the Akti bulk carrier. According to photos shared by the Coast Guard, the drillship in question is the 2014-built Valaris DS-16 rig.

The Valaris drillship is reported to have around 580,000 gallons of diesel on board the vessel. 

"The drillship is currently still up against the Akti and is anchored while being held in place by three tug vessels. Both vessels reportedly have minor damage, with some damage to the pier," USCG said Saturday.

Coast Guard Sector Mobile has sent three prevention team members to monitor the situation. There have been no reports of injuries or pollution at this time. The channel was previously closed due to weather but will remain closed until the vessels are separated, the Coast Guard said Saturday.

Valaris mentioned the DS-16 last week as one of the four drillships that it was working to reactivate and bring back to the market. The other three are the VALARIS DPS-1, DS-4, and DS-9.

According to Valaris' fleet status report, the DS-16 rig is being reactivated to start its contract with Occidental in the U.S. Gulf of Mexico.

Per the report, released in February, the rig is expected to start the contract in May 2022. The contract is scheduled to run until April 2024.

A drillship after collision with a bulk carrier vessel March 12, 2022, in Pascagoula, Mississippi. Three Coast Guard Sector Mobile prevention team members were sent to monitor the situation. (U.S. Coast Guard courtesy photo by Coast Guard Sector Mobile) 

Minor damage. No start-up delay expected

In a separate statement issued on Monday by Valaris, the offshore drilling company confirmed that drillship VALARIS DS-16 was involved in the incident.

The company said that the drillship, which is undergoing reactivation activities at ST Engineering Halter Marine and Offshore shipyard in Pascagoula, Mississippi, in advance of its next contract, broke free from its moorings during gale force winds in the early hours of Saturday, March 12. 

"The rig was promptly secured and safely returned to its mooring location the same day. There were no injuries, no environmental impact, and only minor damage to the rig as a result of the event. Valaris continues to work closely with the relevant authorities and its customer and does not expect any delays to the contract commencement as a result of the incident," the company said.

A drillship sits up against a bulk carrier vessel March 12, 2022, in Pascagoula, Mississippi. The vessels reportedly collided when the mobile drilling unit vessel broke free of its moorings due to high winds. (U.S. Coast Guard courtesy photo by Coast Guard Sector Mobile)


The article was updated to include a statement by Valaris.

Categories: Offshore Bulk Carriers Drilling Activity North America Gulf of Mexico Rigs Drillship

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