An adrift barge misses BP offshore oil platforms, by as little as 1.2 miles (1.8km), and is currently back under tow to the Norwegian mainland.
The giant Eide Barge 33, is a semisubmersible barge, 328 feet (100m) long 148 feet (45m) wide capable of carrying 15,000 tonnes.
She was on-tow travelling from Tunisia back to Norway, with a full cargo of German Navy stores, when she broke free from her towline whilst in Dutch waters.
The barge owners, Norwegian firm Eide Marine Services, said the towline broke in “extreme weather”, adding “ The weather was so bad. It was therefore impossible to reconnect in to the emergency tow line.”
A spokesman of Eide Marine said: “the barge started drifting and became a threat towards oil installations.”
North Sea Platform Evacuations
The barge continued to travel north, passing oil and gas platforms in the southern and central sectors, being carried by a storm which has battered the North Sea over the sat 24hrs.
This morning Barge 33 had reached the Northern Sector of the North Sea, with the ongoing storm pushing it directly towards the BP Valhall platform and the ConocoPhillips Eldfisk to its north.
Late this afternoon (31st Dec), it has been reported that the barge has passed by all oil and gas platforms in the area, missing the BP Valhall by as little as 1.2 miles (1.8km).
Norway’s Joint Rescue Coordination Centre spokesman, Anders Bang Andersen, said the near miss avoided “what could have been a disastrous collision with an oil rig.”
“The barge is unusually tall, more than three stories……weather conditions were challenging with winds of 65 kilometres per hour (40 mph) and an average wave height of 4 metres (13 feet)”
The Eide Barge 33 has now been brought under control and is currently being towed back toward the Norwegian mainland.
The barge owners Eide Marine Services said: “The barge have now past all oil installation in safe distance and we have successfully manage to re-connect the tow line. The barge is now under towing to our site in Norway”
BP has said that it is now in the process of safely remanning its Valhall platform, and is looking at restarting production.Last updated on 10:55AM - 01/01/16