Despite the understandable discomfort caused by heavy seas, all crew are safe and there have been no injuries. An assessment is being made today on whether the weather conditions are safe enough to allow for a change of crew.

The ship had been drilling the Ruru exploration well off the South Taranaki coast for operator Shell Todd Oil Services Limited (STOS).

As a precautionary measure and in accordance with best practice the crew disconnected the vessel from the well-head, before the storm hit on Tuesday, and closed in the well. When some of the eight anchor lines holding the vessel failed the remaining lines were disconnected and it was moved into deeper waters to ride out the storm.

The ship’s engines operated properly throughout the exercise. The vessel was steered on a planned course well clear of the Maui platforms and Tui oilfield. It passed Maui A at a safe 1.5 nautical miles (2.7 km) and was more than 10 km from the Tui field. The ship rolled in waves of more than seven metres but it was not in any danger as the conditions were well within the vessel’s design limits and capabilities.

All crew were inside their accommodation and despite a rough, uncomfortable couple of days they are safe and well. Once the weather has calmed down sufficiently the owner of the Noble Discoverer will make an assessment of any damage to equipment, likely to be over the weekend. It’s planned to bring the ship into Port Taranaki early next week.

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