Elaine Maslin, 2nd June 2012
Insurance payouts on a North Sea floating production vessel which broke loose in a storm have already reached £193million and could rise to £640million.
Maersk Oil North Sea’s Gryphon Alpha floating production storage and off-loading vessel (FPSO) broke four of its 10 anchor chains in the incident in February last year. The vessel has been at a shipyard in Rotterdam since then but Maersk Oil North Sea managing director Martin Rune Pedersen said yesterday it was likely to be back in the UK next month, with first production expected in the third quarter.
Maersk Oil North Sea’s accounts for 2011, just released by Companies House, show the firm received insurance payouts totalling £193million. Global insurance broker Willis has estimated the total cost could be as much as £640million, including £325million for business disruption.
In a recent energy-market review, Willis said the accident had proved to be a loss of profound significance to the insurance market, followed last winter by a similar smaller incident involving CNR International’s Banff production vessel in the North Sea.
The two were ranked by Willis among the three biggest upstream losses in 2011-12.
More than 70 people had to be evacuated from Gryphon Alpha after it broke loose from its anchorage during severe winds. The FPSO, moored 175 miles north-east of Aberdeen, had 114 people on board but 40 stayed behind. The unit was shut down after four of its 10 anchor chains failed and two workers were slightly injured.
Aberdeen Coastguard co-ordinated the removal of 74 workers to nearby platforms, assisted by a helicopter from RAF Lossiemouth.