The towing of Gazprom’s Arctic platform GSP Saturn, that was damaged in a storm on November 7, was interrupted due to severe weather. It is not clear when the platform will arrive in Murmansk and if the situation is safe.
Greenpeace Russia reconstructs the course of events using satellite image monitoring and inquiries to officials.
According to the Ministry of Transport, GSP Saturn has completed drilling of a well within the "Dolginskoye" license block in the Pechora Sea. On November 6th towing to Murmansk started. Deep at night on November 7 the rig was hit by an Arctic storm: The Russian Transport Ministry confirmed that the waves washed out a lifeboat and damaged the helipad. As of 11/07/2014 11:30 all 46 people onboard the platform were evacuated to support vessels.
On November 8 GSP Saturn made an emergency stop at Kolguev Island to shelter from the storm. November 9 and 10th the vessel tried to continue moving, and by 12.00 on November 11 stopped at Cape Kanin Nos, and lowered its legs, raising the platform into a stationary position.
There have been no official updates as to the safety of the platform while it has remained stationary during the storm or how risks are being mitigated. Possible risks include interference from ice build up and undercurrents affecting stability of the legs.
On November 12 the two main tugboats left the rig (AHTS Stril Challenger and AHTS Stril Commander, Norway) and returned to the port of Murmansk. Two vessels - standby tug (AHTS Strilbord) and rescue vessel (Spasatel Karev) stayed near the rig.
Many questions remain unanswered by either Gazprom Neft or Grupi Servicci Petroliere the platform owner.
How long will the platform stay in this position? Gazprom Neft does not know: “The rig will be transported to Murmansk, when the weather conditions allow," – they say.
Ship owner Grup Servicii Petroliere initially tried to deny any accident. It’s Moscow office told us on November 12 that the crew stayed on board and the rig was moving to Murmansk in the normal fashion.
Data on the number of people on board are contradictory. Media reported that on November 8th 46 people were evacuated.
This contradicts data on the accident from Lloyd's List Intelligence, which says only 25 crew members were evacuated. So what were 21 more people doing on the rig during the towing?