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Fire cause unclear

November 8, 1999, 14:30 CET

The cause of a fire which hit the Gro Viking standby ship on 5 November while working for Statoil on Troll in the North Sea remains unclear.

None of the eight-strong crew were injured, and the threat of a collision with installations in the area was averted. Waves at the time were 10 metres high, with wind speeds above 40 knots.

All power was lost on Gro Viking when a fire broke out in the switchboard room around 18.30. The ship then lay close to Statoil's Troll A platform, but began to drift northwards towards Norsk Hydro's Troll B and C platforms and the West Vanguard rig.

Hydro immediately deployed its Viking Titan and Skandi Bergen standby vessels to assist the stricken ship, and a line was got on board around 20.30. That parted 90 minutes later.

Evacuation preparations were initiated on Troll C, while Statoil despatched a standby ship from Ågotnes near Bergen both to assist and to reinforce emergency response provision on the field. This vessel was in position around midnight.

The joint rescue coordination centre at Sola outside Stavanger mobilised a search and rescue helicopter, which landed on Troll B at roughly 22.30.

Statoil also sent one of its SAR machines from Statfjord B, but that returned to base as conditions were clarified.

After a new towline had been got aboard Gro Viking around midnight, the emergency could be brought under control.

Viking Titan and Skandi Bergen headed for Bergen with the damaged ship under tow, but Skandi Bergen was able to drop out of this operation when it reached calmer waters, and returned to the field.

Emergency response leader Rune Norseng in Statoil reports that it will take four-eight weeks to make Gro Viking operational again. In the interim, Ocean Sky has been mobilised for standby duties on Troll A.