Skip Ribbon Commands
Skip to main content
Safety Recommendation Details

Safety Recommendation M-86-105
Details
Synopsis: ON OCTOBER 27, 1985, THE U.S. MOBILE OFFSHORE DRILLING UNIT PENROD 61 WAS DRILLING FOR OIL AT AN OFFSHORE DRILLING SITE ABOUT 25 NAUTICAL MILES (NMI) SOUTH OF THE LOUISIANA COAST IN THE GULF OF MEXICO. THE PENROD 61, A SELF-ELEVATING TYPE DRILLING UNIT, WAS IN THE JACKED-UP MODE IN ABOUT 246 FEET OF WATER AND WAS ELEVATED ABOUT 50 FEET ABOVE THE SURFACE OF THE WATER ON THREE BOTTOM BEARING LEGS. ABOUT 2330 C.S.T. IN SEAS REPORTED TO BE IN EXCESS OF 30 FEET HIGH AND IN WINDS GUSTING TO 80 KNOTS, THE PENROD 61 COLLAPSED INTO THE SEA. THE 43 PERSONS ON BOARD ABANDONED THE VESSEL AND ALL BUT ONE WERE LATER RESCUED. AFTER IT FELL INTO THE SEA THE PENROD 61 DRIFTED WITH THE WIND AND SEA, STRUCK THE NEARBY PENROD 60, AND SUBSEQUENTLY SANK ABOUT 9 NMI NORTHWEST OF ITS DRILLING SITE. AS A RESULT OF THIS ACCIDENT THE PENROD 61, VALUED AT $40 MILLION, WAS DESTROYED AND ONE MAN LOST HIS LIFE.
Recommendation: THE NTSB RECOMMENDS THAT THE U.S. COAST GUARD: IN CONJUNCTION WITH THE REGULATORY PROJECT TO INCORPORATE NEW SAFETY OF LIFE AT SEA CONVENTION COVERED LIFEBOAT STANDARDS INTO THE U.S. CODE OF FEDERAL REGULATIONS, INCLUDE A REQUIREMENT THAT EXISTING COVERED LIFEBOATS THAT DO NOT MEET THE NEW STANDARDS SHALL BE PHASED OUT OF SERVICE ONBOARD MOBILE OFFSHORE DRILLING UNITS WITHIN A REASONABLY SHORT PERIOD OF TIME.
Original recommendation transmittal letter: PDF
Overall Status: Closed - Unacceptable Action
Mode: Marine
Location: Gulf of Mexico, GM, United States
Is Reiterated: No
Is Hazmat: No
Is NPRM: No
Accident #: DCA86MM005
Accident Reports: ​Collapse of the U.S. Mobile Offshore Drilling Unit Penrod 61
Report #: MAR-86-10
Accident Date: 10/27/1985
Issue Date: 10/14/1986
Date Closed: 12/23/1993
Addressee(s) and Addressee Status: USCG (Closed - Unacceptable Action)
Keyword(s):

Safety Recommendation History
From: NTSB
To: USCG
Date: 12/23/1993
Response: THE BOARD CONTINUES TO BELIEVE THAT THE MERITS OF THIS RECOMMENDATION SIGNIFICANTLY OUTWEIGH ANY FINANCIAL BURDEN IT MAY IMPOSE. THE RETROFIT KITS WOULD SERVE AS AN ACCEPTABLE ALTERNATE SOLUTION IF THEY WERE REQUIRED. HOWEVER, SINCE THE USCG HAS STATED THAT IT DOES NOT CONCUR WITH THIS RECOMMENDATION AND WILL NOT IMPLEMENT IT BECAUSE OF THE COST, RECOMMENDATION M-86-105 HAS BEEN CLASSIFIED "CLOSED--UNACCEPTABLE ACTION."

From: USCG
To: NTSB
Date: 8/20/1993
Response: SEE BOARD REPLY BELOW

From: NTSB
To: USCG
Date: 4/27/1989
Response:

From: USCG
To: NTSB
Date: 10/5/1988
Response: THE CG DOES NOT CONCUR WITH THIS RECOMMENDATION. REQUIRING THE RETROFITTING OF TOTALLY ENCLOSED LIFEBOATS ON ALL MODUS WITH THOSE THAT MEET THE 1983 SOLAS REQUIREMENTS WOULD BE EXTREMELY EXPENSIVE. THE BOARD'S REPORT ON THIS CASUALTY DOES NOT CONTAIN SUFFICIENT INFORMATION TO DETERMINE WHY THE ONE CAPSULE CAPSIZED, WHILE THE SECOND CAPSULE, THE INFLATABLE LIFERAFT, AND THE CONVENTIONAL TOTALLY ENCLOSED LIFEBOAT FROM THE PENROD 60 APPARENTLY DID NOT EXPERIENCE ANY DIFFICULTY. THE INFLATABLE LIFERAFT WAS A TYPE THAT DID NOT INCLUDE A HEAVY BALLAST STABILITY SYSTEM. IN ITS ANPRM OF JANUARY 11, 1985, THE CG DISCUSSED THE NEED FOR IMPROVED STABILITY OF INFLATABLE LIFERAFTS. WE ARE CONCERNED ABOUT THE CAPSIZING OF OCCUPIED SURVIVAL CAPSULES IN THIS CASE, AS WELL AS IN THE OCEAN EXPRESS CASE IN 1975. THERE HAVE BEEN OTHER INSTANCES OF UOOCCUPIED SURVIVAL CAPSULES CAPSIZING. THE MANUFACTURER HAS DEVELOPED A CG APPROVED RETROFIT KIT TO MAKE SURVIVAL CAPSULES SELF-RIGHTING. THE KIT IS BEING OFFERED TO OWNERS OF MODUS EQUIPPED WITH SURVIVAL CAPSULES. WE ARE CONSIDERING WHETHER OR NOT RETROFITTING OF THESE KITS SHOULD BE MADE MANDATORY. THE CG WILL ADVISE THE BOARD OF SIGNIFICANT DEVELOPMENTS ON THIS SUBJECT IN FUTURE PERIODIC UPDATES.

From: NTSB
To: USCG
Date: 6/24/1987
Response:

From: USCG
To: NTSB
Date: 4/8/1987
Response: THE CG CONCURS WITH THIS REC. IN PART. REQUIRING THE RETROFITTING OF TOTALLY ENCLOSED LIFEBOATS ON ALL MODUS WITH THOSE THAT MEET THE 1983 SOLAS REQUIREMENT WOULD BE EXTREMELY EXPENSIVE. UNFORTUNATELY, THE BOARD'S REPORT ON THIS CASUALTY DOES NOT CONTAIN SUFFICIENT INFORMATION TO DETERMINE WHY THE ONE CAPSULE CAPSIZED, WHILE THE SECOND CAPSULE, THE INFATABLE LIFE RAFT, AND THE CONVENTIONAL TOTALLY ENCLOSED LIFEBOAT FROM THE PENROD 61 APPARENTLY DID NOT EXPERIENCE ANY DIFFICULTY. THE INFLATABLE LIFE RAFT WAS A TYPE THAT DID NOT INCLUDE A HEAVY BALLAST STABILITY SYSTEM. IN ITS ADVANCE NOTICE OF PROPOSED RULEMAKING OF JAN. 11, 1985, THE CG DISCUSSED THE NEED FOR IMPROVED STABILITY OF INFATABLE LIFE RAFTS. WE WILL TAKE APPROPRIATE ACTION ON THIS RECOMMENDATION AFTER THE CG INVESTIGATION OF THIS INCIDENT HAS BEEN COMPLETED. WE WILL ALSO CONSIDER WHETHER OR NOT SOME ALTERNATIVE RESOLUTION IS APPROPRIATE, SUCH AS THE RETROFITTING OF EXISTING LIFEBOATS AND CAPSULES WITH MANUAL OR AUTOMATIC INFLATABLE SYSTEMS.