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A statistical review of the risk associated with offshore support vessel/platform encounters in UK waters

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Safety performance on the UK Continental Shelf is normally considered to be of a high standard, although there are still many incidents and accidents. This paper discusses some of the initial findings in an offshore support vessel safety research project. Following a brief review study of the uses of various types of existing offshore support vessels, a comprehensive statistical failure data analysis of the vessels is carried out mainly based on a Ship/Platform Incident Database drawn from the Health and Safety Executive (HSE). The variation of incident frequency with time for different types of offshore oil and gas installations, and for different vessel types has been established. A total of 394 records within the period 1980 to 1997 are investigated in this study. The variation of incident frequency with time and seasons, causation factors, incident with respect to geographical distribution, and sea conditions are discussed. The relationship between vessel types, sizes and operations is analysed; operating circumstances, reported primary failure cause, and impart orientation for different vessel types are also described. The statistical analysis reveals that safety culture in terms of good seamanship by vessel masters is probably responsible for mitigating the magnitude of many of the impacts that do occur and also that there is a need for improvement in safety performance. Issues pertaining to human element, the availability and reliability of data, risk criteria, and safety culture in the context of marine and offshore risk assessment are also discussed.
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Keywords: human element; marine and offshore risk assessment; offshore platforms; offshore support vessels; risk criteria; safety culture

Document Type: Research Article

Affiliations: 1: School of Engineering, Liverpool John Moores University, Byrom Street, Liverpool L3 3AF, UK 2: School of Engineering & Advanced Technology, Staffordshire University, UK

Publication date: 2003-03-01

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