A Norwegian vessel operator has been told to up its game after one of its ships crashed into a Southern North Sea platform.
Simon Mokster Shipping’s Stril Mermaid boat collided with the Rough Bravo installation in April while it was on standby for the nearby Valaris Norway drilling rig.
At the time of the collision emergency services said nobody was injured in the collision, though the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) says the safety of those on the platform was put at risk.
The Rough Bravo itself also escaped from the crash scot-free, according to the Maritime and Coastguard Agency (MCA).
Didn’t do enough to prevent a collisision
Following an investigation the HSE has hit Simon Mokster Shipping with an improvement notice, giving the company until the end of the month to comply.
According to the offshore watchdog the Stavanger-headquartered firm did “provide the necessary instructions regarding vessel positioning and watch-keeping”.
Simon Mokster Shipping is also accused of failing to consider the impact of various factors on a lookout’s ability to keep concentration.
As a result the “bridge watchkeeper lost situational awareness” and, on April 22, the Stril Mermaid careered into the Rough Bravo.
In its improvement notice, the HSE said: “You (Simon Mokster Shipping) have failed to conduct your undertaking in such a way as to ensure, so far as is reasonably practicable, that persons not in your employment who may be affected thereby are not thereby exposed to risks to their health or safety in that; you did not provide the necessary instructions regarding vessel positioning and watch-keeping.
“Further; you failed to consider competing demands liable to result in sustained loss of attention whilst undertaking watch-keeping duties, such as tasks requiring the use of the bridge computer, thereby the bridge watchkeeper lost situational awareness whilst standing by the Valaris Norway whilst in a drift on position to Rough Bravo on 22nd April 2023 and the Stril Mermaid collided with the Rough Bravo putting those on the installation at risk to their safety.”
Numerous images of the wounded Stril Mermaid parked up in Great Yarmouth were shared online in the days after its clash with Rough Bravo.
Fortunately the damage was incurred above the waterline, and the supply vessel was able to get to the Norfolk port under its own steam.
Repairs to the ship were subsequently carried out and, according to vessel tracking website MarineTraffic, the Stril Mermaid is currently working offshore Norway.
Simon Mokster Shipping has been approached for comment.
Rough a key tool in the UK’s energy security arsenal
With three bridge-linked platforms at its heart, the Rough field was the UK’s premier gas storage site for almost three decades.
But in 2017, following the withdrawal of state support, facility operator Centrica (LON: CNA) confirmed plans to close the facility, about 17 miles off Yorkshire.
The shutdown of Rough left the UK with little to no gas storage capacity, an issue that was raised at the time and one that became acutely apparent following Russia’s invasion of Ukraine in 2022.
As part of Westminster’s wider energy security push plans were put in place to relaunch Rough, and British Gas-owner Centrica was given the green light to proceed in 2022.
Rough, which feeds into the Easington terminal, previously accounted for 70% of Britain’s natural gas storage capacity, and can hold enough fuel for about 10 days of domestic demand when full.
In the long term, there are plans to convert Rough into a hydrogen storage facility.