Al Baz

Rig:

Santa Fe Al Baz

Date:

28 April 1989

Location:

Nigeria

Operator:

Not known

Summary

The Santa Fe Al Baz was drilling off the Nigerian coast in 1989 when it suffered a blowout. Gas liberated from the blowout ignited, causing the death of the derrickman. Four other crew members died from impact injuries and drowning after jumping overboard to escape the fire. The rig subsequently sank into the sea.

One of the offshift drillers on board at the time of the accident sent in this account:
'It was a shallow gas blowout that the diverter system could not handle, blowing the 12" diverter lines off from the spool under the bag preventer. The rocks and sand ignited the gas, with the flames under the cantilever deck. After the abandonment of most of the crew, the heat eventually melted away the cantilever and rig package, which fell from the barge, pulling the conductor pipe with it. This breakage at seafloor allowed a crater to develop causing the stern legs to fall into the crater with the main barge following. That left only the tip of the bow leg and helideck sticking up, which the aftermath pictures show. By Shell offshore rules, when the shallow gas sand was noted, the well should have been plugged right then but many minor errors built up into a cumulative wreck.'

In the spring of 1992, the rig was salvaged by the Stanislav Yudin, owned and run by Seaway Heavy Lifting company.

Sources:

Le Tourneau: Rig Guide PDF document
BWEA: Management of Marine Risk PDF document
Oil Online

Photos
1. Commercial Diving Directory
2. Commercial Diving Directory