Lost at Sea: Sunk Rigs

Bad weather, metal fatigue, loss of towline, human error and equipment failure are all common factors leading to the loss of rigs at sea when en-route to a new location. At least 30 jack-ups alone have been lost while on tow. Listed below is a selection of rigs that have sunk.

Jack-ups Lost in Transit Fatalities
Bohai 2 Bohai 2
In 1979, the jack-up Bohai 2 capsized and sank in a storm while on tow off the coast of China.
Interocean II Interocean II
After a dramatic crew rescue in 1989, the Interocean II sank in a North Sea storm after towline failure.
Key Biscayne Key Biscayne
The Key Biscayne capsized and sank off Australia's west coast in 1983 after flooding and towline failure.
Ocean Express Ocean Express
Another casualty of towline failure, the Ocean Express sank in 1976 during a storm in Gulf of Mexico.
Ocean Master II Ocean Master II
The Ocean Master II sank off West Africa in 1977 as a result of structural problems and bad weather.
Mr Bice Mr Bice
Mr Bice sank in 1998 in the Gulf of Mexico after structural failure and flooding.
Rowan Gorilla I Rowan Gorilla I
The Rowan Gorilla I was crossing the North Atlantic in 1988 when it capsized and sank after structural failure caused by bad weather.
West Gamma West Gamma
A storm in 1990 caused structural failure and flooding to the West Gamma, resulting in its sinking after towline loss.


International Maritime Organization: Sub-Committee on Stability and Load Lines PDF document

Other Notable Sinkings Fatalities
Glomar Java Sea Drillship Glomar Java Sea Drillship
Another storm fatality, the Glomar Java Sea capsized and sank during Typhoon Lex in 1983 with the loss of all on board.
Lake Peigneur Lake Peigneur
In 1980, a Wilson Brothers rig on Lake Peigneur drilled into a salt mine, leading to the flooding and eventual collapse of the mine.
Ocean Ranger Ocean Ranger
A ballast control malfunction caused the Ocean Ranger to capsize during a ferocious storm in the North Atlantic in 1982, with the loss of all hands.
Petrobras P36 Petrobras P36
In 2001, an explosion destabilised the P36 production rig in the Campos Basin, Brazil, eventually causing it to sink.
Seacrest Drillship Seacrest Drillship
The Seacrest drillship capsized in 1989 during Typhoon Gay, with the loss of 91 crew.
Sleipner A Platform Sleipner A Platform
A design error resulted in the structural failure in 1991 of the gravity base unit of the original Sleipner A platform.

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