AHTS Bourbon Dolphin

AHTS Bourbon Dolphin was an anchor handling tug supply vessel of Bourbon Offshore Norway. The ship capsized off the coast of Shetland on April 12, 2007, and sank three days later while preparations were being made to tow her to shore.

Bourbon Dolphin sinking.jpg
AHTS Bourbon Dolphin sinking in the North Sea
Flag of Norway.svgNorway
NameAHTS Bourbon Dolphin
OwnerBourbon Offshore Norway AS
BuilderUlstein Verft AS, Ulstein
LaunchedFebruary 27, 2006
In service2006
Out of service2007
IdentificationIMO number9351983
FateFoundered April 15, 2007
General characteristics [1]
Class and typeUlstein A102 AHTS
Tonnage2,985 GT
Length75.2 m (247 ft)
Beam17 m (56 ft)
Draught6.5 m (21 ft) (max)
Propulsion4 × 3,000 kW at 750 rpm
Speed17.5 knots (32.4 km/h; 20.1 mph) (trial)


Bourbon Dolphin was built at the Ulstein Verft in 2006, the "Ulstein A102" design. She was part of a three-ship contract with Bourbon, the two others being the Bourbon Orca and Bourbon Mistral.[2]

On February 21, 2007 Bourbon Dolphin succeeded in pulling the German mine hunter Grömitz to sea again after she had run aground near Florø.[3]

Less than two months later, on April 12, she capsized with 15 Norwegian sailors aboard. Eight were picked up by vessels already on scene and two were found by Her Majesty's Coastguard, while five are still missing.[4][needs update] Three of the ten recovered were reported dead.[5] The incident happened while Bourbon Dolphin was anchoring the semi-submersible drilling platform Transocean Rather. The 99-man crew of the Rather was evacuated by the RAF.[6]

On Sunday 15 April, Bourbon Dolphin sank in 1,100 meters of water off the coast of Shetland, Scotland at 59°55′50″N 0°26′22″W / 59.9305°N 0.439333°W / 59.9305; -0.439333Coordinates: 59°55′50″N 0°26′22″W / 59.9305°N 0.439333°W / 59.9305; -0.439333.[7]

In January 2009 Bourbon Offshore Norway was fined 5 million Norwegian kroner (€530,000 at the time) after a Norwegian government Commission of Inquiry raised doubts about the ability of both the vessel and its crew to handle large anchors in such deep water. Norway's national prosecutor said the new captain, who died with his son in the sinking, had not been given enough time to learn about the crew and ship, as he only had 90 minutes to take over.[8]


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