Conclusion of 2016 Incident Investigation

25 March 2021

Maersk Supply Service has received and accepted a fine of DKK150,000 from The Danish Police for grossly negligent breach of the Danish regulations relating to safe navigation. The fine concerns the loss of the two vessels Maersk Searcher and Maersk Shipper, in December 2016. The vessels were towed and unmanned when they sank 60 miles off the coast of France. No people were injured by the incident.

"This is a regrettable case that we have taken very seriously from the beginning. We have been working closely with the French and Danish Authorities to mitigate the impact of the incident, as well as assisting in uncovering the causes. We take note of the conclusion of the police investigation and accept the fine," says Steen S. Karstensen, CEO of Maersk Supply Service.

The police conclusions are aligned with the findings in the incident report by the Danish Maritime Accident Investigation Board, published on 30 August 2017, which concluded that the incident emerged from unique conjunction of events and circumstances - not a single factor. The fine from the Danish Police states a number of aspects where Maersk Supply Service acted in violation of the Danish regulations relating to safe navigation. This includes that the company:

• Decided to use a controversial tow method (side-by-side)

• Used a preliminary tow procedure that was not customised to the towing vessel

• Used old and too small fenders

• Did not ensure that the towing vessel had access to the newest procedures incl. emergency harbours

• Did not act when the fenders were lost in the English Channel or when the French authorities got reports on damages to the towed vessels

• Did not act on the change in weather

Since the incident, Maersk Supply Service has taken firm actions to implement preventive measures ensuring a similar incident cannot happen again. This includes implementing a strengthened risk advisory system, ensuring reviews by 3rd parties and conducting management of change training for relevant personnel offshore as well as onshore.

By request of the French authorities, Maersk Supply Service has in 2017 emptied the fuel tanks via a third-party company and, also via a third-party contractor, inspected the wrecks for any potential environmental impact twice a year over three years. The surveys have not shown any negative environmental impact and are concluded.

Image by Maersk Supply Service

About Maersk Supply Service
Maersk Supply Service is a leading provider of marine services and integrated solutions to the energy sector worldwide with a large fleet of anchor handling tug supply vessels and subsea support vessels. The company provides solutions to the oil and gas industry in areas such as towing and mooring installation, subsea construction, and light well intervention services, and supports other industries such as offshore wind, deep sea mineral recovery and ocean cleaning.

Maersk Supply Service employs an international staff of approximately 1100 offshore and 250 onshore people. Headquartered in Lyngby, Denmark, Maersk Supply Service is represented globally with offices in Aberdeen, Accra, Luanda, Manila, Mexico City, Perth, Rio de Janeiro, St. John’s, and Singapore.

Maersk Supply Service is a part of A.P. Møller – Mærsk A/S which employs roughly 70,000 employees across operations in 130 countries.

Maersk Supply Service, press release