Posts Tagged ‘Medical Evacuation’

Kudos to offshore-energy.biz for drawing attention to the recent Coast Guard medevacs from the pipelay vessel Solitaire. Three health-related medevacs from the same facility in <2 months would seem to warrant further scrutiny. Will the Coast Guard investigate?

The only timely information on medevacs is from Coast Guard news releases. Information on private medevacs is seldom provided, except as included in the BSEE incident tables, which are typically more than 1 year behind, and update presentations by BSEE’s Gulf of Mexico region.

Below is information on 2023 YTD Coast Guard medevacs associated with Gulf of Mexico oil and gas activities. As previously posted, at least 12 workers died at OCS facilities in 2021-22 of natural causes. Unfortunately, “natural cause” fatalities and illnesses receive little industry or regulator attention.

datevessel or platformdescriptioncondition report
5/18OSV Brandon Bordelon 50-year-old male crewmember with an injury to his legstable
5/17Allseas’ pipelay vessel Solitaire65-year-old male crewmember was experiencing heart attack-like symptomsstable
4/26crew boat Mr. Fredhalted search for missing crewmemberpresumed dead
4/23Allseas’ pipelay vessel Solitaire32-year-old male crewmember experiencing severe abdominal pain.stable
3/22Allseas’ pipelay vessel Solitairecrewmember was experiencing seizure-like symptomsstable
3/18BP’s Atlantis platform28 year old male, eye injurystable
3/13unidentified platform 40 miles south of Port Fourchon37-year-old man having difficulty breathingstable

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15 years ago the Minerals Management Service pushed hard for better offshore medevac capabilities. Harlan King, the father of an offshore worker whose injuries were exacerbated by the delayed medical response, was the main impetus behind this effort. The industry responded favorably and Mr. King, BP, and Petroleum Helicopters Inc received Offshore Leadership Awards in 2009 for their initiatives. This 2009 article describes PHI’s dedicated medevac capabilities at the time.

The number of “non-occupational” fatalities (at least 6) at US OCS facilities in 2021 suggests that medical care and evacuation capabilities are once again a concern. BSEE is therefore applauded for their medical evacuation assessment initiative. Their recent presentation is attached.

BSEE’s presentation describes 6 more “non-operational” fatalities in 2022, and raises concerns about CPR training deficiencies, evacuation challenges posed by stairways, and the absence of medics at some facilities. BSEE’s findings (pages 14-21 of the presentation) are eye-opening and merit the attention of all operators, contractors, and others interested in offshore facility safety.

While historical data on health-related OCS fatalities are not readily available, 12 such fatalities over the past 2 years seems high relative to past experience, particularly given that the total number of hours worked has declined by more than 50% since 2011. As suggested in our 2 February post, further investigation into this disturbing trend is warranted. Given the sensitivity of the topic, it would seem best for the Coast Guard and BSEE, with appropriate medical assistance, to conduct this review.

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