Safety Alert Highlights Need For Better Cyclone Response Planning

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10th February 2009, 08:26pm - Views: 1086

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Media Release

Issue date: 9-02-2009

Page 1 of 1


National Offshore Petroleum Safety Authority

10 February 2009

For Immediate Release

Safety alert highlights need for better cyclone response planning

The National Offshore Petroleum Safety Authority (NOPSA) today issued a safety alert to

warn offshore operators of the need for an appropriate Cyclone Response Procedure.

The safety alert was prompted by a recent incident in which a construction vessel was

unable to avoid a cyclone because its operator failed to put in place preparations to

retrieve anchors and evacuate from its location in a timely manner. 

The vessel weathered the storm until its final anchor parted, at which point the vessel was

able to make way under its own limited capability to a safe location. Fortunately, no one

was injured during the incident, although had the cyclone intensified, the outcome could

have been more serious. 

Some of the key lessons drawn from this incident include the need to consider location

specific cyclone scenarios within the Cyclone Response Procedure including:

Designated safe mooring areas

Escape route/sail away restrictions

Responses for cyclones and tropical lows approaching from various directions

incorporating consideration of worst case forecast predictions.

Helicopter availability

Key construction activities and their required evacuation preparation times”

CEO of NOPSA, John Clegg said that the incident demonstrated the need for adequate

cyclone response planning to cover a wide range of scenarios.

“Preparation and planning are the keys. In this case, the operator’s Cyclone Response

Procedure failed to identify and address the risk of topical lows rapidly developing into

cyclones and there had not been a sufficient level of cyclone drills and exercises.”

The incident is currently the subject of an investigation by NOPSA occupational health and

safety inspectors.  


(Enquiries to: NOPSA external affairs officer, Louise Dumas Tel 08 6461 7058)

The National Offshore Petroleum Safety Authority (NOPSA) is the occupational health and

safety (OHS) regulator for the Australian offshore petroleum industry. NOPSA is a

Commonwealth statutory agency that regulates under the Offshore Petroleum and

Greenhouse Gas Storage Act 2006 in Commonwealth waters and equivalent OHS

legislation in designated coastal waters of the States and Northern Territory.

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