'Jack-up rig in Jurong accident has been stabilised’

The jack-up rig in Jurong that tilted and injured 89 workers on Monday has stabilised but the cause of the accident cannot yet be fully determined, said the chief executive of the maker of the rig.

Sembcorp Marine president and CEO Wong Weng Sun said in a press briefing on Tuesday that the priority now is for them to assess how best to restore the structure to a fully upright position before any personnel goes onboard the rig platform to investigate.

The rig is currently stuck at a 17-degree tilt with part of the rig platform touching the surface of the seawater.

Though no one has been near or on the platform since the workers from the rig were evacuated, Wong said that preliminary findings have shown that the fault lies with a brake malfunction on one of the three legs of the rig called the “forward leg”.

The brakes, Wong said, had been used before in previous successful projects. The incident is the first major industrial accident of the company, he added.

Meanwhile, the stop-work order that came from the Ministry of Manpower on Monday currently remains.
Tan said, “I think it will take some time. The company is still assessing what should be the next steps in terms of rectifying the situation, so we’ll work closely with the company. For now, the stop-work order remains until we’re assured we can lift it.”

All three legs of the rig had initially passed the maximum load test of 9,000 tonnes over the weekend, with the forward leg taking the two-hour test first.

According to Sembcorp Marine’s senior project manager Boon Kheng Choo, the forward leg had stood stable for more than 24 hours before the rig suddenly tilted on Monday at 10:30am.

The structure had gone from an upright position to a forward tilting position of 10 degrees within minutes, according to Wong. That was the period when the workers in the compound had been evacuated, majority via one gangway. 

Responding to reporters’ questions about several workers’ accounts that they had escaped by jumping to the sea below, Wong said that the company does not have any official reports of that happening.

A “handful” of workers were led by safety supervisors to the nearby scaffolding to climb down to the waters, he said, adding that all the workers were on the main deck were evacuated within 20 minutes.

They took another 25 minutes for headcount for the total of about 980 personnels working at the shipyard at that time, and another additional 10 minutes using a tub boat to check surrounding waters if there were men overboard.

The evacuation process took slightly less than an hour in total – something acting manpower minister Tan Chuan-Jin said the speed was something he thought was “encouraging”.

Speaking to reporters on-site after the visit, Tan said, “Basically everyone has been evacuated. So I think those steps sound like they were well taken to make sure there were no more threats or other injuries.”

83 workers have been discharged, and six remain in various hospitals in normal wards but are expected to be discharged over the next few days. None are in critical condition.

Wong admitted that the number of injured workers is “high”, but assured that all medical expenses of the workers will be incurred by the company. Post-hospital care such as psychiatric counselling are also provided for these workers as well.

Senior Parliamentary Secretary for Manpower Hawazi Daipi had on Monday labelled this as “is one of the worst industrial accidents we have seen in recent times”.

Responding to this, Wong said that this incident was unprecedented and “abnormal”, and the company will conduct a thorough analysis to find out the problem.


Related links:
At least 89 injured in Jurong Shipyard accident




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