Bourbon Dolphin tragedy to be remembered at safety forum

The Bourbon Dolphin tragedy which resulted in the death of eight people is to be the subject of a talk by a maritime law specialist.

The anchor handling vessel capsized off the coast of Shetland ten years ago resulting in the deaths of eight of the 15 people on board, the greatest loss of life in a maritime incident in UK waters since the Piper Alpha disaster.

Pinsent Masons partner Bruce Craig, who was part of the post-incident investigation team, will give a presentation on the accident at a meeting of the Marine Safety Forum at Aberdeen’s Beach Ballroom next Thursday.

The presentation “Bourbon Dolphin Tragedy – 10 Years On” will discuss improvements to global maritime safety which have been introduced over the last decade.

Around 100 members are expected to attend the Marine Safety Forum which promotes safety within the maritime sector of the oil and gas industry.

Mr Craig said: “The Marine Safety Forum is an important vehicle for actively promoting and supporting good practice and initiatives which enhance safety within the oil and gas industry and I am delighted to be able to share some of the lessons learned in the aftermath of the Bourbon Dolphin tragedy.”

The anchor handling vessel “turned turtle” when an operation off the coast of Shetland to shift the anchor of a drilling rig went wrong in April 2007.

Eight of the 15 Norwegian people on board died, including the Master and his 14-year old son, who was on board for work experience during the Easter holidays.

An inquiry into the tragedy found safety failings by three firms – owner Bourbon Offshore, operator Chevron and rig owner Transocean – were factors in the accident.

Bourbon Offshore was fined £500,000 in Norway because the company failed to give the ship’s new captain, Mr Remoy, enough time to learn about the vessel, her crew and the complex operation. He had only 90 minutes to take over.

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