Ship Noise…or Seismic Life
Gardline's Ocean Voyager lost in Gulf of Oman
On 10 July, 2002 Gardline Survey’s Managing Director, Paul Stanley, reported that their vessel Ocean Voyager was lost at sea in the Gulf of Oman. The loss followed the ingress of water into the ship's engine room.
There were no injuries amongst the 29-crew members who were carried to shore by the survey support ship, the Miclyn Searcher.
Gardline was contracted to conduct a seabed survey for the proposed Iran-India-Oman gas pipeline. Ocean Voyager, Miclyn Searcher and Ocean Endeavour were tasked with carrying out the work scope. It is reported that Ocean Voyager and Miclyn Searcher departed Oman a day earlier for a location 135 miles offshore. On arrival at location, the survey operations commenced by deployment of an acoustic transceiver pole through the vessel's hull (in the engine room) via a gland, support stool and gate valve. A chain block assembly lowered the 5m-transceiver pole weighing approximately 500kg. At some point during the lowering and for reasons unknown, the pole fell freely some 4 to 5m. The retaining collar and supporting steelwork were destroyed by the inertial energy of the pole and it was lost to sea. Subsequently, the engine room flooded.
The Gardline emergency response team liased with the support services of Iran, Oman, and the US coalition vessels and quickly established there was no risk to personnel. Efforts were then focused on saving the ship. Regrettably only one of three pumps landed onboard the Ocean Voyager from a US Navy helicopter was operable. Given this situation, all remaining personnel were removed, thereafter the vessel remained afloat a further three hours before sinking in 3,000m of water.
Given the recent vessel losses and incidents within the both the deep seismic and high-resolution seismic industry, Gardline is reported to be planning to make available the regulatory findings and make recommendations to the classification society, which if implemented should avoid such a repetition to other vessels.