On April 12, 2007, the 247-foot, state-of-the-art Bourbon Dolphin, under the command of Norwegian captain Oddne Arve Remoy, was involved in a tragic anchor-handling capsize.
The Bourbon Dolphin, which was only a year old, was the lead tug in a tandem operation moving Transocean Rather, a semisubmersible oil-drilling platform, 80 miles off Scotland’s Shetland Islands.
While shifting the rig's eighth and final anchor, the assisting tug Highland Valour was unable to maintain its hold on the anchor chain, according to Norwegian judicial authorities that investigated the accident.
Tension on Bourbon Dolphin's winch skyrocketed, and two engines failed. The extra lateral forces weighing on the vessel were part of what caused the tug to capsize, killing eight of the 15-member crew, including the captain and his 14-year-old son, who was along on sea training; one Dane; and five other Norwegians.
The accident, which is well-illustrated in this YouTube clip, was found to have many factors, but an important one may have been the captain’s unfamiliarity with the new vessel.
The Bourbon Offshore division has since installed devices on its tugs to render stability calculations, taking into account sea state, fuel levels and other factors, according to Bourbon CEO Jacques de Chateauvieux.