Saipem rig sinks off West Africa; crewmember missing


Italian drilling company Saipem says that on the night of July 1 the jackup drilling rig Perro Negro 6 collapsed and sank in the waters off the coast of Angloa and the Democratic Republic of Congro, near the mouth of the Congo River, in about 40 meters (130 feet) of water. One of the 103 crew members on board is missing and another six incurred minor injuries. A search for the missing person, a Bulgarian national, is currently underway.

A Saipem spokesman says the event occurred due to the collapsing of the seabed under one of the rig’s three legs. The rig suddenly tilted and suffered hull damage, causing it to sink. The incident happened during the rig positioning on location prior to starting drilling operations.

Emergency procedures were promptly activated, said the spokesman, and crew members were evacuated. At this time, no environmental impact has been reported and preventive measures have been implemented.

A Saipem emergency response team is on the scene and is working with Angolan authorities and the client company’s operational team.

Saipem is covered by insurance for loss of equipment and wreck removal, as well as for any possible environmental damages. The company says it will provide further information as it becomes available.

Milan-based Saipem is a subsidiary of Eni S.p.A.

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