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    Bourbon Dolphin inquiry gets under way in Norway

    News // April 27, 2007

    The formal inquiry into the capsize of the AHTS Bourbon Dolphin got under way earlier this week.

    The inquiry heard that the vessel capsized whilst handling an anchor with another vessel, Highland Valour.

    Reports suggest that Bourbon Dolphin had recovered an anchor from the seabed and was about to lower it to a new location when the vessel ran into problems.

    One of the survivors of the incident said Highland Valour had attempted five times to move an anchor, and that, on the fifth try the anchor chain dragged over the side of the AHTS.

    The survivor, Geir Syversen was quoted in the Norwegian press as saying that Bourbon Dolphin and Gulf Offshore's Highland Valour "had almost collided" at one point, and that the Bourbon vessel had put on full power on to prevent a collision.

    He also told the inquiry that Bourbon Dolphin had to take the full burden of the chain they were handling and her thrusters began to overheat due to the increased strain.

    Highland Valour was, he claimed, radioed, and told to go northwest, but moved in the other direction.

    Mr Syversen told the inquiry it quickly became clear that it was taking a great deal of effort to hold the ship in position.

    The captain ordered that the chain be released but, the inquiry was told, the mechanism failed to work properly and the ship could not get rid of it fast enough. Soon after the vessel heeled over.  

    Other witnesses at the inquiry said Bourbon Dolphin "was not meant to handle such a heavy task," and that when the job had first been planned, the idea was that the vessel was to be assisting, not carrying the main load.


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