Pipe-laying barge, adrift in North Sea, now safe in Bergen
A 170-meter-long, semi-submersible Stolt Offshore pipe-laying barge that broke away from two Maersk tugs in the North Sea Nov. 12 has been brought safely to port in Bergen, Norway.
A towline from the tugs 'Maersk Seeker' and 'Maersk Lifter' parted in eight-meter swells and 60-knot winds, the U.K. Maritime and Coastguard Agency said in a statement. Attempts to reconnect the tow were unsuccessful because of the ferocity of the wind.
The barge LB 200, with 265 crew on board, drifted where the seas took it for a day and half in continuing rough weather. Anchors aboard the barge were not dropped out of consideration for pipelines on the seabed, the Maritime and Coastguard Agency explained.
After coming close to the Harding and Gryphon offshore oil platforms, the barge was finally taken under tow again to Bergen. About 200 of the crew were evacuated from the semi-submersible by the Norwegian Coast Guard.