Owners of «Kolskaya» fighting in court for insurance payment
Arktikmorneftegazrazvedka takes legal actions to prove that the towing of the “Kolskaya” rig was done without any violations. 53 people died when the platform overturned and sank in December 2011.
Arktikmorneftegazrazvedka (AMNGR), owner of the ill-fated drilling rig “Kolskaya” is trying to rid itself of the accusations of involvement in the tragedy. The Murmansk-based company will take legal actions to have declared illegal a decision from the Russian Maritime Register of Shipping (RMRS), who shortly before the accident suspended the rig’s classification and thus imposed restrictions on its transportation.
If AMNGR’s claim is upheld, the company will get 3 billion rubles (app €73.7 million) in insurance payment.
AMNGR claims that the rig had been inspected shortly before the fatal transportation operation and that RMRS suspended the classification only after the tragedy was a fact.
RMRS however claims that the “Kolskaya” drilling rig was projected to be towed in waters with depth of less than 100 meters and was not allowed to be towed in winter time. The rig owner chose to ignore these limitations and transport the rig across the Sea of Okhotsk to Sakhalin in a severe winter storm.
“This was a serious violation of the maritime requirements. In such cases a vessel’s classification is suspended automatically”, a source in RMRS says to Izvestia.
53 people died in the accident, making it the largest in the history of the Russian oil and gas sector. 14 people were rescued. At least 32 of the crew of 67 came from the Murmansk region.
If Arktikmorneftegazrazvedka can prove in court that the platform could be towed and that it was illegally deprived of its classification, the company has a chance to get 3.1 billion rubles in insurance settlement for the lost rig.
The Deputy Director of AMNGR was fired in March 2012 after prosecutors found that several mistakes were made during the towing operation. An investigation report concluded that AMNGR failed to evacuate non-essential personnel from the rig before towing; the captain changed the route without giving notice to AMNGR; distress signal was sent out too late and the icebreaker failed to come to rescue in time.