Accommodation Vessel Adrift In North Sea Workers Onboard

Published at 11:33AM - 04/01/16

An accommodation vessel is adrift in the North Sea with offshore workers onboard, according to the vessels owners, Prosafe.

The Safe Bristolia semisubmersible accommodation vessel was on-tow, from the UK to a shipyard in Gdansk Poland, when its towline broke at 0746 GMT Sunday January 3rd.

At the time the vessel, with a gross tonnage of 13,876 tonnes, had 53 workers onboard, although some have been airlifted back to shore.

Accommodation Vessel Adrift

According to emergency services, the weather has severally hampered the rescue attempts of the vessel, with wave heights of 20 feet (6 meters).

The barge master asked for assistance, and the evacuation of 20 personnel by SeaKing helicopter, leaving 33 personnel onboard to assist with the securing of the vessel.

The Safe Bristolia dropped anchors during Sunday, which has slowed its rate of drift to around 1.5 knots, although the weather remains too bad for tugs to attempt to get any new towlines connected.

The vessel is continuing to drift, off the Scottish town of Montrose, although it is believed to be well clear of any land or offshore assets.

Next Rescue Attempt

Due to the heavy weather, owners Prosafe, and on-station tug ‘Sea Lynx’, are going to wait until Tuesday (Jan 5th) before attempting to reattach a towline.

Speaking to Norwegian based Aftenbladet, Prosafe communications manager, Karine Cosemans said: “The weather is improving gradually, but there is no point in stressing this. The situation is under control and the 33 people on board.”


The Safe Bristolia During A Small Storm In 2014 

North Sea Storms

This will be the second North Sea vessel to break its towline in a week, after the Eide Barge 33 semisubmersible barge broke free on Thursday (Dec 31st).  

The Eide Barge 33 came adrift in Dutch waters, and was carried by a storm North in the the Norwegian sector, causing the evacuation of both the BP Valhall and the ConocoPhillips Eldfisk platforms to its north. In total around 300 offshore oil and gas workers were evacuated. 

Safe Bristolia

The Safe Bristolia, is an accommodation vessel used in the global offshore energy industry.  It’s a semisubmersible, originally launched in 1983 as an offshore drilling rig, to Sedco 602 design.

It was bought by Prosafe and converted to an accommodation vessel back in 2006.

The vessel has been designed to accommodate up to 588, but is limited to 316 when working in UK waters.