NEW ORLEANS (NWN) – An oil tanker near Louisiana hit an offshore oil platform at night because its Turkish operating company did not give the ship’s owner time to recover from days of sleepless travel, federal investigators have found. .
According to a report by the National Transportation Safety Board made public on Tuesday, the master, or the man in charge of sailing Atina, had traveled from Istanbul and told investigators, “he was exhausted from sleeping for more than 50 hours.” ”
The board said the accident at the start of October 17, 2020 caused an estimated $72.9 million in damage – $72.3 million to the platform SP-57B and the rest of the tanker Etina.
However, no one was hurt when the empty 898-foot-long (274 m) ship hit the platform at 4:46 am, and there was no pollution, the board said.
The report states that the “accident master” took over immediately from the departing master, even though the operating company’s own safety manual calls for a 24-hour overlap. Such overlap would have let him rest, it said.
The report described the likely cause of the accident as “not ensuring sufficient time for the turnover of the operating company master”, resulting in acute fatigue and poor position awareness of the master during the nightly anchoring development effort.
The man in Istanbul was told that he had to take charge as soon as possible. Reportedly, the reason was that the master on board had planned to leave after “issues” with an inspector for the ship’s owners and operators. The report said the ship finished discharging its cargo of crude oil at the NuSTAR terminal in St James and then headed for its planned anchorage at the South West Pass.
The new master came on board and – instead of anchoring where the previous master had planned – he chose a closer location. He told investigators that he “didn’t want to spend a lot of time finding a place to anchor in the middle of the night on a ship he was not familiar with” and that he was exhausted. The report said the location was about 0.7 miles (1.1 kilometers) from the platform.
The NTSB identified the owner of Etina as Hanzhou 1 Limited and its operator as Besiktas Liquid Tsimasilik Denizsilik Ticarat Anonymous Sirkete.
Besiktas did not respond to emails sent on Wednesday. An attorney representing both companies in the lawsuit filed by Cox Operating LLC of Houston, the owners of the platform, did not immediately respond to an email sent Friday.
Cox filed the suit in federal court in New Orleans the day after the accident. It estimated damages to its platform at $225 million, including economic damage during repairs.
The NTSB does not specify fault or delinquency, and US law forbids NTSB reports from being used as evidence in civil lawsuits.