The Marine Safety Forum (MSF) in the UK has issued a report about a recent incident in which an offshore vessel hit an offshore wind turbine
The incident occurred after four technicians had been transferred to a wind turbine. The as yet unnamed vessel was positioned just outside the 200-m exclusion zone for standby. Its next task was to pick up the same technicians when they had completed their work.
The officer of the watch (OOW) moved the vessel from the turbine to outside the exclusion zone in dynamic positioning (DP) surge mode. Just outside the exclusion zone, the vessel was turned so that it was stern-on to the weather. The vessel was then in a ‘drift on’ position.
On completion of the turn, the OOW activated auto DP by ‘double tapping’ the auto DP button, but did not confirm that the vessel was in full auto DP before leaving the DP desk to deal with other duties.
The OOW was at the time alone on the bridge. The vessel was still in DP surge mode and the current caused it to drift toward the wind turbine. It made contact six minutes later. The vessel had a speed of 1.1 knots at the time of contact.
The ship hit the wind turbine with its helideck perimeter netting and the bridge wing on the port side.
Fortunately, the incident did not result in any personal injuries, and only minor damage to the turbine and vessel.
No technical issues were identified during the investigation of this incident.
An investigation found that the OOW failed to comply with procedures and industry guidelines.
He did not confirm that full auto DP was activated after double tapping the button on the joystick. He was alone on bridge and decided to deal with some administrative tasks while alone on bridge. The vessel was placed in a drift on position.
The MSF said the incident “was fully investigated, and a corrective action plan established including but not limited to a review of bridge operations procedures with an emphasis on bridge routines and a review of bridge operations training Module 1 and 2.”