Alan Burton, director safety and human resources for Cianbro
One killed, two injured in accident POTLAND, Maine (AP) – A lifeboat with three people in it that was being raised to its resting place on an oil rig dropped just before it reached the top, plunging more than 50 feet into the icy water below, officials said Wednesday. Something gave way on one side of the lifeboat and it dangled for a moment before Tuesday’s fatal plunge, said Alan Burton, director safety and human resources for Cianbro, which outfitted the oil rig. The rig was scheduled to leave Portland Harbor for sea trials on Wednesday, but its departure has been delayed. The Coast Guard and Occupational Safety Health Administration continued their investigations Wednesday. Officials from Lloyd’s Registry, which certifies the work on the oil rig, were there as well. The Portland Police Department, which was initially involved, deferred to the other agencies after determining the incident likely did not involve a violation of Maine’s workplace manslaughter law, said Lt. Vern Malloch. Under the state law, an employer can be found liable if it grossly negligent. There was no evidence of that, Malloch said. Andrew J. Caldwell, 49, of Centerville, Nova Scotia, was pronounced dead at the scene late Tuesday morning, police said. Kevin Nicholson, 49, of Halifax, was returning home Wednesday after receiving treatment, officials said. Charles Dorey, 29, of Cape Breton, Nova Scotia, was in satisfactory condition at the Maine Medical Center. They were employed by Nova Scotia-based Off Shore Recruiting Services and were internationally certified seamen, officials said. The three were part of the 100-member crew of the Pride Rio de Janeiro, one of two giant oil rigs that arrived in Portland Harbor nearly two years ago for outfitting by Maine contractor Cianbro. The self-propelled oil exploration rig and its sister rig, Pride Portland, are owned by Brazilian-based Petrodrill. The oil rig crew was testing the lifeboat in preparation for sea trials when the accident occurred. The crew members lowered the lifeboat into the water and motored around the harbor before returning to the rig, Burton said. The lifeboat was nearly back to its resting place when something went awry, he said. When stowed, the lifeboat is normally 75 feet above the water. In this instance, the oil rig was sitting lower in the water because of ballast, and the lifeboat’s perch was about 55 feet high, Burton said. Pittsfield-based Cianbro was responsible for outfitting the structures, which were brought to Portland from separate Gulf Coast yards after the companies that were building them sank into bankruptcy. But Cianbro had no responsibility for the crew, said Peter Vigue, Cianbro’s president and chief executive officer. Nonetheless, Vigue said Cianbro’s safety team is looking into the accident, along with the investigating agencies, to try to learn from the accident and improve procedures for lowering and raising the boat. “Our approach is pretty simple. First, our safety team need needs to determine what happened,” he said. It’s the second death this winter at the work site. A South Portland man was killed Dec. 4 on a tugboat working with one of the two rigs. Petrodrill plans to have the oil rig ready to depart next week for a spot 13 miles offshore for further testing, Burton said. For that to happen, the Coast Guard would have to sign off, he said. AP-ES-01-14-04 1806EST An overturned lifeboat from the oil rig Pride Rio de Janeiro marks the scene of an accident Tuesday, Jan. 13, 2004, in Portland, Maine. The lifeboat with three people aboard was being lifted back to its 50-foot-high perch when it dropped from an unknown height Tuesday, said Jeff Monroe, city director of ports and transportation. Andrew J. Caldwell, 49, was pronounced dead at the scene. Charles Dorey, 29, and Kevin Nicholson, 49, were taken to Maine Medical Center, where Dorey remained Wednesday morning. Nicholson was releasd. (AP Photo/Portland Press Herald, John Ewing)


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