Sustainable developmentReducing emissions to the air

Supply ship collides with Ekofisk platform

person by Trude Meland, Norwegian Petroleum Museum
A full alarm was sounded at the Ekofisk Complex on the morning of 3 June 2005, when a supply ship collided with a platform and 440 oil workers prepared to take to the lifeboats.
— Heavy fog at the Ekofisk Center. Photo: Husmo Photo/Norwegian Petroleum Museum
© Norsk Oljemuseum

Ekofisk was shrouded in thick fog and the wind was blowing from south-south-west at six metres per second[REMOVE]Fotnote:, Ekofisk målestasjon, Været som var. when Ocean Carrier crashed without warning into the Ekofisk structures.[REMOVE]Fotnote: Stormark, K, “Norsk supply-båt: Kolliderte med Ekofisk-plattform”, VG, 3 June 2005.

In the limited visibility, this vessel hit several old installations, destroyed the bridge between the Ekofisk tank and 2/4 P and did other harm. Ocean Carrier was also damaged by the collision, but nobody was hurt – either on the ship or on the Ekofisk platform. The position was quickly clarified, and no evacuation was needed.

Production was shut down, but no people had been present in those parts of the complex which were hit. These were platforms in the removal programme.

What went wrong

ConocoPhillips established its own expert team to investigate the incident, which was found to be caused by human error. In thick fog and at a speed of 12 knots, Ocean Carrier entered the safety zone on a direct course for Ekofisk. Visibility was 100-150 metres.

The captain suddenly saw an installation ahead and put both engines into reverse while turning the wheel sharply. But he was too late – the ship struck. Immediately before the incident, the captain had taken over command of the ship from the first mate. Misunderstandings arose over who was responsible for navigation.

The captain maintained that he had not been properly informed of the position and how close platforms were. He was therefore convinced that the ship was on the open sea and failed to check the navigation instruments.[REMOVE]Fotnote: Petroleum Safety Authority Norway, Risiko for kollisjoner med besøkende fartøyer, 5 January 2011. Downloaded from

But ConocoPhillips also had to accept criticism for failing to comply with its own routines in connection with the safety zone around the Ekofisk Complex. The company appointed an investigation team, which concluded that short-term contracts with shipping companies represented a safety risk.

ConocoPhillips was advised instead to award contracts of long duration so that shipowners and crews could gain the experience needed to sail close to and between the Ekofisk installations. The company concluded that it was only a matter of luck that a major accident had been avoided, with loss of human lives and/or pollution.[REMOVE]Fotnote: Voldsund, O, “Flaks hindret stor ulykke”, Norwegian Broadcasting Corporation (NRK), 29 September 2005. Downloaded from

Sustainable developmentReducing emissions to the air
Published 18. September 2019   •   Updated 16. October 2019
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