Sea Gem


Sea Gem

The Sea Gem was the first British offshore oil rig, located approximately 67 kilometers off the coast of Lincolnshire, which collapsed on december 27, 1965, killing 9 of the crew.

Background

In the early 1960s, oil companies had found some oil in Great Britain, as well as in Holland and Germany, and suspected that there was more to be found under the North Sea. Unfortunately there were some barriers that had to be overcome before it was to be possible to search for oil and gas. First of all, there had been no international agreements that addressed the rights to the various minerals and areas outside the three mile (5 km) limit. Also, the technology required was not yet developed, or hadn't matured enough to be commercially usable.

The main factor, however, was that the oil companies generally didn't think that there were significant enough reserves in the North Sea to warrant the usage of resources to search for oil. This situation changed however, when fields such as Groningen in Holland, and to a certain extent Eakring in the UK, proved to contain fairly large reserves, thus prompting the oil companies to begin a search in nearby areas, including the North Sea.

The Sea Gem made the first British discovery of gas on august 20, although the find was too small to be commercially profitable.

Construction

The Sea Gem was originally a 5600 ton steel barge, converted to function as an oil rig by British Petroleum in 1964. The barge basically consisted of 10 steel legs which made it possible to raise the barge 15 meters over the water's surface, as well as a helipad, living quarters for the crew of 34 and a drilling tower with associated structures.

The accident

On 27 December 1965, the crew were in the process of moving the rig to another site approximately two nautical miles away. This process involved lowering the rig onto the surface of the water, in order to float it to the new site. When the rig was lowered, two of the legs crumpled and broke, causing the rig to capsize, with equipment and people sliding off and into the freezing cold of the North Sea at 1409 GMT.

As the radio hut was among the equipment falling into the sea, the rig never sent out an emergency signal. Luckily the nearby British freight ship the "Balrover" observed the capsizing. The crew on "Balrover" sent out emergency signals and proceeded to help rescue the crew together with a RAF and a civilian helicopter.

As a result of this accident, several changes were made in order to improve the safety of oil rigs, amongst them the use of a stand-by boat, which would be able to help rescue crews in the event of future accidents.

External references

* [http://news.bbc.co.uk/onthisday/hi/dates/stories/december/27/newsid_4630000/4630741.stm 1965: Sea Gem oil rig collapses]
* [http://www.time.com/time/magazine/article/0,9171,834965,00.html Sinking of the Sea Gem]
* [http://www.dukeswoodoilmuseum.co.uk/sea_gem.htm Dukes Wood Oil museum page on the Sea Gem]


Wikimedia Foundation. 2010.

Look at other dictionaries:

  • Gem Archer — Birth name Colin Murray Archer Born 7 December 1966 (1966 12 07) (age 44) Durham, England Genres Britpop, glam rock, alternative rock …   Wikipedia

  • Sea Pictures — Sea Pictures, Op.37 is a song cycle by Sir Edward Elgar consisting of five songs written by various poets. It was set for contralto and orchestra, though a distinct version for piano was often performed by Elgar. Many mezzo sopranos have sung the …   Wikipedia

  • Sea Lynx — Westland Lynx …   Deutsch Wikipedia

  • Sea Lynx MK 88A — Westland Lynx …   Deutsch Wikipedia

  • Gem Archer — Pour les articles homonymes, voir Archer (homonymie). Gem Archer Colin Murray Archer est un guitariste professionnel, né le 7 déc …   Wikipédia en Français

  • sea perch — Stone Stone, n. [OE. ston, stan, AS. st[=a]n; akin to OS. & OFries. st[=e]n, D. steen, G. stein, Icel. steinn, Sw. sten, Dan. steen, Goth. stains, Russ. stiena a wall, Gr. ?, ?, a pebble. [root]167. Cf. {Steen}.] 1. Concreted earthy or mineral… …   The Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • Gem of the Caspian Sea — Volga River …   Eponyms, nicknames, and geographical games

  • North Sea oil — is a mixture of hydrocarbons, comprising liquid oil and natural gas, produced from oil reservoirs beneath the North Sea. In the oil industry, the term North Sea often includes areas such as the Norwegian Sea and the area known as West of Shetland …   Wikipedia

  • USS Gem of the Sea (1861) — was a bark acquired by the Union Navy during the American Civil War. She was used by the Navy to patrol navigable waterways of the Confederacy to prevent the South from trading with other countries. Gem of the Sea was purchased at New York City… …   Wikipedia

  • Vampire Hunter D: Mysterious Journey to the North Sea — Vampire Hunter D: Mysterious Journey to the North Sea, Part One …   Wikipedia


We are using cookies for the best presentation of our site. Continuing to use this site, you agree with this.