Sleipner collision averted

January 8, 2002, 16:00 CET

Two Scottish trawlers were observed heading for Statoil’s unstaffed Sleipner B platform in the North Sea during the morning of 8 January.

Since immediate contact could not be established with these vessels, routine emergency response measures were launched. The joint rescue coordination centre for southern Norway was also alerted.

A standby ship which normally patrols around Sleipner A was despatched towards the B platform, with a helicopter in the area also re-routed.

In addition, two Norwegian Air Force F-16 fighters on standby were sent from the Stavanger air base at Sola to identify the trawlers.

The two ships changed course before reaching the 500-metre-wide safety zone around Sleipner B. The episode passed off without drama and in accordance with prevailing emergency procedures.

Some 30-40 fishing vessels can be found at any time in the waters around the platforms in the Tampen area further north, but traffic in the Sleipner area is rather lower.

Poor seamanship on fishing vessels creates unnecessary concern around offshore installations, says Thormod Hope, vice president for emergency response, maritime operations and air transport in Statoil.

They often use platforms as navigation points, although serious incidents are relatively infrequent.

But Mr Hope nevertheless believes that a discussion of traffic around platforms with the authorities would be appropriate.