Maersk Victory


Maersk Victory Jack-Up


16 Nov 1996


Gulf Saint Vincent, South Australia


Apache Energy Ltd for Canyon (Australia) P/L


The Ocean Victory jack-up was a type 300C-35, constructed by Mitsui Ocean Development & Engineering Co. Ltd, Japan, and delivered in August 1981. From 1981, the rig worked in the Persian Gulf in a number of locations offshore UAE and Qatar. In October 1986, the rig suffered explosion and fire damage to the aft port corner and to legs #2 and #3 after an air attack during the Iran/Iraq war. It was transferred to Australia in April 1986 and worked in the North West Shelf from April to Oct 1986 before a dry tow on the Super Servant 3 relocated the rig to South Australia in November 1996.

1996 Punch-Through

Once offloaded from the Super Servant 3, the Maersk Victory was towed onto location by the Massive Tide, with the Canning Tide sailing alongside in support. En-route, the position surveyor noticed the absence of a site survey on the rig and attempts were made to have one made available. Once on location in the early hours of 16 Nov 1996, the legs of the Maersk Victory were jacked down and the rig 'walked' onto location, with the help of the Massive Tide. The first attempt at jacking-up at 0630 hours aimed to achieve the 2m preload airgap, which resulted in the settling of leg #2 by 2m. The rig was then jacked down until level and then successfully jacked back up to a 2m airgap.

After waiting for the arrival of a helicopter at 0825 hours, preloading continued from 1000 hours. One third of the way through the pre-loading, at 1032 hours, the rig suddenly listed down to starboard, causing the sea to wash over the deck. After two or three punches, the rig stabilised and unsuccessful attempts were made to jack the rig down. Inspections revealed that legs #1 and #2 were severely damaged along their lengths. At 1035, the rig was evacuated using the fast rescue craft of the Canning Tide. In the afternoon, the rig was made watertight and the preload water was dumped.

Extensive damage to all three of the jack-up's legs resulted in divers cutting the hull free of the legs to allow the hull to be towed back to a safe anchorage near Port Adelaide. The legs of the rig were subsequently salvaged by Dockwise using the Dock Express 10 over December 1996 and January 1997 and delivered, along with the hull, to the Far East Levingston Ship Building company in Singapore for repairs.


The South Australia Department of Mines and Energy Resources (MESA) undertook an investigation in May 1997 and determined that the immediate cause of damage was the failure of the sub-sea sediments beneath the rig. There was no evidence of structural failure of the Ocean Victory contributing to the incident. The report concluded that there was a failure to fully evaluate the risks of a new drilling location, a failure to fully evaluate the geotechnical data of the sub-sea sediments with particular reference to the load bearing capacity of the sub-sea sediments, and a failure in management systems and procedures for locating the rig.


South Australia MESA: Accident to the MODU Maersk Victory PDF document
Dockwise Projects

1. & 2: MESA Accident to the MODU Maersk Victory PDF document