Chouest could face penalty in Kulluk grounding

The conical drilling unit Kulluk sits grounded 40 miles southwest of Kodiak City The conical drilling unit Kulluk sits grounded 40 miles southwest of Kodiak City U.S. Coast Guard photo by Petty Officer 2nd Class Zachary Painter

APRIL 4, 2014 — Edison Chouest Offshore could face penalties in relation to the grounding of the mobile offshore drilling unit Kulluk on the eastern coast of Sitkalidak Island, Alaska, on Dec. 31, 2012. And the Master, Chief Engineer and Third Mate of the Chouest towing vessel Aiviq could face revocation or suspension of their licenses.

The U.S. Coast Guard yesterday released a redacted version of its report into the incident. It says that a series of events contributed to the causal factors that resulted in the grounding of the Kulluk, with the most significant factor being the inadequate assessment and management of risks associated with a complex vessel movement during the winter in the unique and challenging operating environment of Alaska.

Among the safety recommendations issued in the report is the recommendation that the U.S. Coast Guard Commandant partner with the Towing Safety Advisory Council to establish a working group to draft and accept a task statement addressing, but not limited to, the issues raised by this marine casualty, the towage of mobile offshore drilling units in the arctic marine environment and several other concerns.

The section of the report dealing with enforcement says:

ENFORCEMENT

Civil Penalty

1. This investigation has determined that there is sufficient evidence that a violation of law or regulation may have occurred on the part of Edison Chouest Offshore (ECO) in that they failed to report the numerous marine casualties and safety related vessel issues contained in Findings of Fact (53 & 54) and Analysis (83 – 89) sections of this report. As a potential violation of the marine casualty reporting requirements as established in 46 CFR 4.05-1, this matter should be turned over to the cognizant civil penalty authority for consideration.

Suspension and Revocation

1. This investigation has determined that there is sufficient evidence that the AIVIQ Chief Engineer may have committed an act of negligence by not adhering to good marine engineering practices with regard to onboard fuel management practices aboard the AIVIQ. This matter should be turned over to the cognizant suspension and revocation authority for consideration.

2. This investigation has determined that there is sufficient evidence that the AIVIQ Master may have committed an act of negligence by not establishing sufficient effective oversight and procedures for the bridge officers aboard AIVIQ to safely tow the MODU KULLUK in the winter Gulf of Alaska environment. This matter should be turned over to the cognizant suspension and revocation authority for consideration.

3. This investigation has determined that there is sufficient evidence that a violation of law or regulation may have occurred on the part of the Master of the AIVIQ with regard to the watch keeping system in place on the AIVIQ. As a potential violation of deck and engine room watch requirements as established in 46 CFR 15.705 requiring a 3-watch schedule for voyages over 600 miles. This matter should be turned over to the cognizant authority for consideration.

4. This investigation has determined that there is sufficient evidence that the AIVIQ 3rd Mate, Mr.[NAME REDACTED] may have committed an act of negligence by failing to ensure appropriate tension remained on the towline and associated gear during his watch immediately prior to the shackle failure on December 27, 2012. This matter should be turned over to the cognizant suspension and revocation authority for consideration.

You can access the report HERE