US firm, Hercules, loses $8m liftboat to Chevron rig fire

17 January 2012, Sweetcrude, LAGOS – Hercules Offshore of United States may have lost its offshore support vessel which was torched in the fire that engulfed a Chevron-chartered drilling rig off Nigeria.

Its owner says it might most likely have been completely destroyed in the inferno, which has left two rig crew members missing.
All 27 crew onboard the Hercules Offshore’s liftboat Mako were rescued after it was set alight by the fire on the KS Endeavor rig early on Monday morning.

The US-flagged vessel was providing excess storage services to the rig which is part-owned by an offshoot of Singapore-listed KS Energy and is operating on Chevron’s Funiwa field in Block 86 about 250 kilometres off Port Harcourt.

The fire was reported to have initially broken out on the rig, but quickly spread to the adjacent vessel which meant all the boat crew had to be rescued and taken to a local clinic for treatment.

In a statement released on Tuesday and entitled ‘Hercules Offshore Announces Litfboat in Nigeria Likely Lost in Fire’, the Houston-based vessel owner said “no major injuries have been reported” to the 27 liftboat crew.

“At this time, the company has not been able to confirm the extent of the damage to the Mako, although visual indication from company employees at the site indicated that the vessel sustained significant damage.”

The vessel has an insured value of $8 million subject to a deductible of $1 million, although this will not apply in the case of a total constructive loss. It is not known if the vessel or the rig have sunk.

All but two workers on the rig were evacuated and treated on a nearby platform. Chevron has the KS Endeavor on charter for a two-year period which started in January 2011. The US oil giant also holds a one-year option over the unit.
Production from Chevron’s North Apoi platform was shut in due to its proximity to the fire.

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