NTSB cites inadequate preload testing in toppling of liftboat

Screen Shot 2020 11 18 At 9.48.12 Am

(WASHINGTON) — The National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) issued Marine Accident Brief 20/36 on Tuesday for its investigation of the Sept. 8, 2019 overturning of the liftboat Kristin Faye in the Gulf of Mexico.

One crewmember was injured evacuating the vessel. The accident resulted in the discharge of about 120 gallons of diesel fuel. The vessel was declared a constructive total loss.

The accident occurred while the self-propelled, self-elevating liftboat was raised above the sea surface to provide service to an oil production platform in 35 feet of water about 8 miles east of Venice, La. When the captain raised one of the extending/telescoping boom cranes on the vessel, the liftboat began tilting to port and overturned in less than one minute.

Screen Shot 2020 11 18 At 9.48.12 Am
NTSB photo

Marine Accident Brief 20/36 notes once the 22,500-pound port crane boom was moved from its cradle (horizontal position) to the vertical position, the boom’s center of gravity shifted about 17 feet. The company’s manual did not include guidance for changes in the position of the crane booms once the vessel was elevated. Investigators determined the probable cause of the accident was the inadequate preload procedure that did not account for crane movements or the planned loads (weights) to be lifted.

“Because Kristin Faye overturned in less than a minute, it is likely that the seabed below the port leg became unstable, causing the leg to settle very quickly in what is known as a ‘punch through’ in the industry,” the report said. “This caused the liftboat to lean over despite the effort of the captain to raise (retract) the other two legs.”

– National Transportation Safety Board

By Professional Mariner Staff