This article published in the Journal of Shipping and Ocean Engineering 6 – 2016, critically evaluates the risk of ships’ collisions with offshore platforms and installations and proposes steps to prevent this type of collisions.
Here are the excerpts
The consequences of ship collisions with an oil rig, offshore installation or platform can be far more expensive in relation to safety, environment and costs of damage. The damage due to a single incident of an Oil Rig Collision can be catastrophic due to the number of people on board and the added risk of explosion.
With more and more offshore drilling platforms, serious consideration is required on how to avoid collisions between offshore drilling platforms and ships. Platforms are designed to withstand smaller impacts from supply vessels, but passing vessels generally travel at higher speeds and consequently the displacement is likely to be devastating. Even at modest speeds, the impact to the platform can easily cause deformation of structural members and possibly a total failure.
Most of the incidents at sea are caused by the factor of human error. About 75-96% of the marine casualties are caused by some form of human error. However, good procedures can prevent human errors. For example: an oil rig collision by a passing vessel may be ascribed to human error if the watch keeper did not alter course sufficiently. However, a procedure (the establishment of clear traffic lanes for navigation) would have completely eliminated such human error. It could be the establishment of a traffic lane in the vicinity of an oil rig which can prevent close quarters situations with that oil rig, as compared to an oil rig that has no traffic lanes near it.
The article concludes that the need for regulating the actions of offshore drilling platforms for safer operations, is very high.