Energy Voice | HSE to take ‘no further action’ on Ninian Southern faulty lifeboats

The Health and Safety Executive (HSE) has confirmed that it intends to take “no further action” in its probe of the Ninian Southern rig, which had to be down-manned last week amid concerns over faulty lifeboats.

North Sea operator CNR International confirmed last week that a number of essential lifeboats were not fit for use upon its Ninian Southern platform, prompting a hasty evacuation of nearly 60 workers on Tuesday evening.

However, a spokesman for the HSE said at the weekend: “We have been in contact with CNR and at this time no further action is planned.”

CNR admitted that the 59 workers evacuations made, believed to correspond to two lifeboats, was a direct result of “further repairs that were needed” found during what the firm called “planned essential maintenance on platform lifeboats”.

It is understood that the 59 workers evacuated almost a week ago are yet to return to duty on the Ninian Southern, which is  is located 240 miles from Aberdeen in the northern North Sea.

HSE said last week it was “aware and making initial enquiries” into the issue, but said that in such a case the offshore inspector “wouldn’t ask the company to down-man” but that a prohibition notice was issued and CNR International made the decision to down-man themselves.

Asked for further details as to if or when lifeboats will been repaired, CNR International chose not to comment.

On the issue of workers returning to duty upon the Ninian Southern, the operartor would neither comment not provide a time frame for when the rig might be fully manned.

CNR did reveal last week that “as a result” of an issue discovered concerning lifeboats the number of personnel was “proactively reduced to 80 on-board with 59 non-essential personnel returning onshore from the platform” on 10 July.

The operator said the planned maintenance activities would have have no impact to production and that “safety is a core value at CNR International and all work will be completed safely and effectively before the platform is fully re-manned.”

However, Unite union said last week that it had been told that certain lifeboats “we’re not fit for purpose” due to damage to “lifeboat davits and steelwork” and that some would have to be replaced entirely.

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