Crane Accident Offshore at Shell’s Brent Alpha platform

In another crane accident offshore, a large container fell from a crane and into the North Sea due to a mechanical failure. The incident occurred last Sunday in the Brent Alpha platform, when the container was being hoisted to another support vessel. The platform is located around 115 miles northeast of Lerwick, Scotland.

Reports indicate that around 54 workers had been evacuated from the particular North Sea oil platform. With 18 transferred to work on other platforms, 19 flown to Aberdeen via Scatsta and 17 others going back to the city, all non-essential personnel were evacuated as a precaution from the platforms.

The mechanical failure caused the container to lie dangerously close to a mass of subsea pipelines. However, it was then shifted to rest 20ft below sea level, tied to a rope from the crane and clamped to ensure that it won’t sink any further and cause damage to the sea bed. The crane operator was able to steer the container away from the platform and the support vessel when the mechanical failure occurred to prevent any accidents. The Brent Alpha and Brent Bravo platforms were shut down and depressurized for a short time.

After the accident, authorities initially planned to recover the container and transfer it to another support vessel. Not an easy task, considering the weight of the container and the complexities involved.

Latest reports suggest that the maintenance at Royal Dutch Shell’s Brent Alpha platform will now resume and that the container has been moved to a safe area in the sea bed after authorities failed to draw up a viable plan to move it to another support vessel. Only 30 employees were left on the platform to aid in the recovery operation.

However, a spokesperson for Shell said that the vessel would be recovered from the sea-bed in due course. Crane accidents aren’t anything new. Crane warning systems help in situations like these, helping warn crane operators of mechanical failures as well as potentially dangerous overload situations.

Proper use of crane warning systems such as PAT Hirschmann LMIs can also help to stop events like two-block and tipping over. While it is important for crane operators to be well versed in knowledge about handling cranes and the standard safety procedures involved, having the right crane warning system can help avoid accidents. There are load moment indicators such as the Hirschmann Maestro LMI that can inform a crane operator of various metrics including boom length, angle, and operating radius in an easy to read manner.