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Facility:
Petro36 Platform
Location:
Rio De Janeiro, Brazil
Date of accident:
20 March 2001
Type of accident:
  • Release of toxic/flammable materials
  • Explosion
  • Fire
Offshore/onshore accident:
Offshore
Number of fatalities:
11
Number of people injured:
0

Petro36 Platform, Rio De Janeiro, Brazil, 20 March 2001

SUMMARY

Drainage operations caused two explosions in the starboard aft column of the P36 platform. The first explosion was caused by the rupture, due to excessive pressure, of the emergency drain storage tank in the column. The explosion resulted in damage to equipment, pipes and electrical/electronic installations. Emergency firefighting crew attended the affected area.

A second explosion occurred in the column approximately 17 minutes later from the ignition of an explosive gas mixture. The explosion resulted in 11 fatalities among the firefighting crew. The damage from the explosion also caused flooding in the column. Subsequent flooding of interconnected compartments resulted in the sinking of the platform.

 

LESSONS

  •  Clear and well-defined supervisor’s functions
    • Responsibilities must be clearly defined in relation to the operation, maintenance and supervision of areas of production, platform infrastructure and control of stability. In addition, the supervisor’s bureaucratic activities should be reduced so that they can concentrate their focus on operating activities.
  •  Size and skills of crew
    • The number and skills of platform crew should be aligned with the complexity of the installation, the operations involved and the strategic importance of the platform.
  •  Maintenance
    • Maintenance activities should be prioritised to ensure compliance with scheduled maintenance programs and elimination of preventive maintenance routines.
  •  Management of change
    • Project changes should only be carried out after completion of risk analysis, updating of documentation, approval from relevant authorities and training of operating and maintenance team.
  •  Training
    • Personnel need to have technical training in control of stability and ballast and in emergency control. Retraining should be promoted.
  • Recovery of Information
    • Implement system for recovery of key information before final evacuation similar to black box in the aeronautical industry so that operating information can be recovered in the event of an emergency.
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