U.S. Safety Agency Blames Deepwater Drillship Accident on Decision to Ride

The full report is here: https://www.bsee.gov/sites/bsee.gov/files/gc-895-boe-28-oct-2020.pdf

From the article:

It was during this call that “Transocean elected to stay connected to the well because previous sister drillships in similar conditions (Category 1 Hurricane Conditions) rode out storms without issues,” the report said.

That sounds more like coming up with a justification for the outcome they wanted rather than sound storm avoidance policy. Anyway, old policy: lets ride it out. New policy: move if in the path of a hurricane.

Also from the article:

BSEE stated that the probable cause of the accident was “an inaccurate weather forecast, with a key contributing cause being the human error decision to stay latched to the well to attempt to ride out the hurricane.”

While forecasts predicted that Hurricane Zeta would pass east of the Asgard, the drillship took a direct hit from the hurricane with sustained 90 to 100 miles per hour winds, equivalent to a strong Category 1 and Category 2 hurricane, and seas up to 30 feet. A peak wind gust on the derrick was even clocked at 152 mph.

The NHC puts out a report every year for each storm summarizing each hurricane forecast, here is the report on Zeta



Thanks for posting that info. It’s always after the fact about the woulda,shoulda, coulda. Perhaps commercial pressure came into play here, again… Spent more than my share of time avoiding bad weather in GOM on a slow vessel. I see the report is of an unusual track for a late October tropical cyclone. There is no “usual” track for those storms that late in the season. I experienced “Juan” in late October 1985. Circled in the lower gulf for days, as I made my approach to my destination after it made landfall, the friggin thing bounced off of land and came out to greet us. Damn spooky towing a light 250k barge. (Feel free to google the path) The weather predictions are much better nowadays, but mother nature has a way of outsmarting the forecasts. Dude on that drillship knew better than to stay on site. The guy in the basement ruined this guys day as he perhaps succumed to commercial pressure.

Sure, but you were trying to avoid. According to the report the policy was not to avoid. That’s serious head-up-the-ass territory.

As far as commercial pressure, of course but that’s why a policy / procedure is put in place before an encounter. In this case they supposedly had a policy, problem was it was an uninformed one.


“If I am in harms way but sign off to stay” Shitty policy don’t you think sir? Agree on head up the ass territory.

I believe the report also states at even at Category 1 hurricane conditions they should leave
“In the future, if a storm is projected to reach sustained winds equal to or greater
than a category 1 Hurricane, BOE will recommend to its rig contractor that they
should secure the well, displace the riser to seawater, disconnect from the well and
pull a specified length of riser from the water column, and proceed to a secure
It is always about the money. We all know that.