Investigation Launched After Gangway Disconnects from Floatel Endurance

March 5, 2020

Floatel Endurance in operations for Equinor at Martin Linge field - Image Credit: Floatel International
Floatel Endurance in operations for Equinor at Martin Linge field - Image Credit: Floatel International

The Norwegian authorities have launched an investigation after the gangway aboard the offshore accommodation rig Floatel Endurance disconnected from the unit last week.

According to the Petroleum Safety Authority Norway, the incident happened on February 29, 2020. The Floatel Endurance was at the time connected to the Martin Linge platform in the North Sea, off Norway.

No personal injuries were suffered and the cause of the incident is so far unknown, the Petroleum Safety Authority Norway said Wednesday.

"The PSA takes a serious view of what happened. An investigation team drawn from its specialist staff is now starting work,” PSA Norway.

"Scrutiny will be directed both at Floatel International, which operates Floatel Endurance, and at Equinor as operator for Martin Linge. The latter has consent to use Floatel Endurance for offshore accommodation,” PSA said.

Equinor: Safety feature

OEDigital has reached out to Equinor, seeking more info on the incident. 

An Equinor spokesperson responded: "It was bad weather Saturday, and we observed that there was more bad weather on its way. Therefore, we decided to disconnect the gangway, following normal procedure."

"Before we got that far, there was a movement that made the gangway disconnect itself. This is a safety feature, something [the gangway is] supposed to do when there are larger movements."

"The gangway was connected again Sunday morning when the weather was better and is in normal use. It has been decided that there will be an internal investigation."

Floatel Endurance is a semi-submersible accommodation and construction support vessel (floatel) designed for harsh-environment. 

According to its specs sheet, the unit is equipped with a telescopic gangway for client personnel to transfer between the floatel and the host installation. The hydraulic gangway has a length of 38.0 meters with a telescopic action of +/- 7.5 meters that should allow the vessel to remain connected in severe weather.

The rig, which can accommodate 440 people in single bed cabins, replaced the Floatel Superior unit at Martin Linge in early November 2019. The rig's contract runs till the end of June 2020 with further options to extend until the end of 2020.

The Martin Linge field is being prepared by Equinor to start oil and gas production in the third quarter of 2020. The company in October last year said more than 1100 people were working every day both offshore and onshore to get the field ready for start-up.

The Martin Linge field development involves a jacket-based integrated wellhead, production, and accommodation platform, and a permanently anchored oil storage vessel. 

Per Equinor, when the field comes on stream, the gas will be transported through a new pipeline connecting the field to the existing pipeline going to St. Fergus, Scotland. The oil will be processed on the storage vessel and transported from the field in shuttle tankers.



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