Missing Deck reports

The deck reports were of great interest as they could shed some light over the cause of the accident.
Written by Norwegian Petroleum Museum
- Daily life at Edda depicted in a drawing by an unknown British oil worker (Brenda Graham/Norwegian Petroleum Museum).

On the Alexander L. Kielland, logbooks were maintained and regularly sent to the management in Stavanger. A logbook, also known as a deck report, records important events and activities aboard a ship or platform. 

 After the Kielland disaster, the deck reports were of great interest as it was assumed that events on board in the days preceding the accident might shed light on its cause. Consequently, these reports were among the first requested by the newly established inquiry commission. At a meeting held at Phillips’ facility in Tananger on March 30, three days after the accident, representatives from Phillips Petroleum, the police, Det Norske Veritas, and Stavanger Drilling besides the commission, attended.  

It was assumed that the last logbook had been lost with the rig. However, Stavanger Drilling informed that the crew change had occurred on the same day as the accident, and thus, the logbooks had been transferred ashore earlier in the day. They assured the commission of their cooperation in providing all relevant information. 

Read the full minutes of the inquiry commission’s meeting on March 30, 1980, here (English): 

Skanna materiale: Justisdepartementet, Granskningskommisjonen ved Alexander Kielland-ulykken 27.3.1980, RA/S-1165/D/L0007: B Stavanger Drilling A/S (Doku.liste + B1-B3 av av 4)/C Phillips Petroleum Company Norway (Doku.liste + C1-C12 av 12)/D Forex Neptune (Doku.liste + D1-D8 av 9), 1980-1981, s. 290 – Skanna arkiver – Arkivverket (digitalarkivet.no)

However, deck reports from the days before the accident were never produced, leading to subsequent speculation about why they are missing. 

The absence of these deck reports from ALK was a subject in both the limitation case in Stavanger District Court and the compensation case involving Phillips CEFM and Forex Neptune in France. 

French experts, who also investigated the accident, requested the same deck reports in October 1983. The Stavanger police then stated that six logbooks had been found. However, a few months later, the French were informed that this was a misunderstanding. Only four logbooks had been found, none of which covered the days before the accident. 

Learn more about this in the French expert report, Chapter 2 (English): 

Skanna materiale: Pa 1503 – Stavanger Drilling AS, SAST/A-101906/Da/L0007: Alexander L. Kielland – Rettssak i Paris, 1982-1988, s. 89 – Skanna arkiver – Arkivverket (digitalarkivet.no)

Skanna materiale: Sjøfartsdirektoratet med forløpere, generelt arkiv, RA/S-1407/D/Ds/Dsb/L0632: Flyttbare innretninger, 1981 – Skanna arkiver – Arkivverket (digitalarkivet.no)

In August 1986, Stavanger Drilling was summoned to a meeting regarding the missing deck reports at the Phillips base. The summons came from lawyer Carl Gunnar Sandvold, along with a list detailing the missing deck reports. 

Skanna materiale: Pa 1503 – Stavanger Drilling AS, SAST/A-101906/Da/L0006: Alexander L. Kielland – Rettssak i Paris, 1985, s. 467 – Skanna arkiver – Arkivverket (digitalarkivet.no)

During the limitation case in Stavanger District Court in 1986, it was argued that one reason some logbooks were not found might be that they were never sent ashore. Sometimes, this procedure was skipped; perhaps this was the case on the day of the accident. 

Read more about it here (Norwegian)

Skanna materiale: Pa 1503 – Stavanger Drilling AS, SAST/A-101906/Da/L0001: Alexander L. Kielland – Begrensningssak Stavanger byrett, 1986, s. 6 – Skanna arkiver – Arkivverket (digitalarkivet.no)

Les også: Plattformsjefens dagbok


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