13 February 2015, News Wires – The death toll has risen to five following an explosion onboard the Cidade de Sao Mateus floating production, storage and offloading vessel off Brazil, vessel owner BW Offshore has confirmed.
The Norwegian contractor said in a statement four crew still remained missing out of 74 personnel who were onboard at the time of the incident on Wednesday, adding that two injured workers were in “a critical condition”.
The blast ripped through the FPSO at 12:50pm local time as it was operating for state-owned Petrobras on the Camarupim and Camarupim Norte fields in the Espirito Santo basin about 120 kilometres off Brazil.
Firefighters onboard the vessel had to suspend operations to locate those still missing at about 2:30am as the equipment room adjacent to the pump house area where the blast occurred was flooded, preventing them from gaining access, according to a statement from Brazilian market regulator ANP.
It further stated that a BW specialist on structural integrity was boarding the vessel to aid in the search after a scan revealed that 80% of the structure remains intact following the blast.
ANP said the number of injured was now at 25, compared with an earlier reported tally of 10.
BW confirmed all personnel had been evacuated from the unit and said that search-and-rescue operations had continued into the night to find the missing workers, while production has been halted from the unit.
“This is a tragic day, and our primary focus now is on the crew and their families. We cannot rest until the last four of our men are found,” said chief executive Carl Arnet.
“We express our gratitude to Petrobras and the Brazillian authorities for the tireless efforts in this time and wish to thank our peers and partners for their support.”
The company has not yet released the identity of the victims.
A BW spokesman told Upstream it was not possible at this stage to determine when production would be restarted.
“We are preparing for a return of some personnel to the vessel after the evacuation so that we can gain an overview of the situation. We will not be able to determine the operational status until we have carried out an investigation of the vessel,” he explained.