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July 12th, 2011

No Injuries Reported Aboard Transocean Oil Rig Off Ghana

All crew members on a Transocean semisubmersible rig off Ghana are reported to be uninjured after reports of water on board.  The water ingress on the Transocean Marianas came to light when the crew members were getting ready to move location.  According to Transocean, the rig was not drilling at the time.  However, all 108 nonessential personnel on the rig were immediately evacuated as per company policy.

At least 13 crewmembers are still on board the rig.  These will remain there to monitor the situation, until the rig can be moved to shallower waters.  According to Transocean, it will take at least a week for the rig to be towed and inspected for damages.

According to some sources, a crack developed in one of the pontoons on the rig, and the water began entering the pontoons through the crack.  Apparently, the crack developed during anchor handling operations. Initially, some sections of the media in Ghana reported that some of the personnel on the rig had been thrown into the sea.  Those media reports were later refuted.

The rig is still floating and stable.  At this point, there are no environmental concerns involved.  Transocean is assuring everybody that there are no safety risks.  The Transocean Marianas has been in operation since 2011.  During this time, the rig has already drilled four wells.  However, the damage to the rig could delay further drilling operations.

Transocean has tried to downplay the seriousness of this incident, but maritime lawyers would gauge the seriousness of the incident from the fact that more than 100 workers on the rig had to be evacuated immediately.

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