Last Tuesday, the crew of the service operations vessel (SOV) Esvagt Njord helped save seven fishermen in distress near the Dudgeon Offshore Wind Farm in the U.K. North Sea.
Esvagt Njord is a wind turbine ship assisting Equinor in the operation of the offshore wind farm off Great Yarmouth on the English east coast. Over the radio, skipper Brian Kristiansen heard a fishing vessel nearby calling for help, and when he responded, he learned that the ship was taking in water. “The fishing vessel had yet to send out a Mayday. We had a feeling, however, that there was a need for help close by. So we deployed our FRB (Fast Rescue Boat) to be standby and ready to assist if the situation worsened,” Kristiansen said.
Upon arrival at the fishing vessel, the FRB crew quickly assessed the situation as far more serious than imagined. “When the FRB arrived, it was clear for all that a serious accident had taken place. The fishing crew themselves spoke of several explosions on board, and all seven fishermen needed first aid – several were seriously injured,” Kristiansen said.
Esvagt Njord immediately deployed the larger STB7 as well and started evacuating the fishing vessel. Meanwhile, Esvagt Njord’s remaining crew prepared to receive the injured.
“When the FRB contacted us and told us that the situation was serious, Equinor’s medic happened to be on the bridge. He overheard one of the injured screaming in pain, and the medic immediately offered to assist us in providing first aid to the wounded,” Kristiansen said.
Equinor, Certex and Siemens Gamesa, who also have people on board Esvagt Njord, offered to further assist with the first aid work that was going on, and the crew from a Green Marine crew transfer vessel (CTV) also stepped in.
“All seven fishermen were seriously injured. Unfortunately, there were several fractures, tears and wounds. There was not a single one of them that did not require help. It was really good to be able to upgrade our medics team with competent support. Everyone was needed. Three fishermen were so badly injured that they were evacuated by helicopter,” Kristiansen said.
“I have told my crew as well as the customers on board that everyone can be very proud of the effort. We are different companies, but we are one ship and one crew. It was a very touching experience,” Kristiansen said.
“It really says all you need to know about Esvagt that a wind turbine service vessel is able to respond so resolutely, competently and full of skill,” said Steffen Rudbech Nielsen, Head of Ship Management – Operations. “Vessel and crew are chartered for a completely different type of task; it is not a vessel specialized in emergency response. Yet the vessel and crew responded promptly and effectively as soon as they caught on that something was wrong. Many crew members in Esvagt and at Esvagt Njord have a background in our ERRV segment and are used to training in rescue and staying cool under pressure. Actions like these emphasize the value of having that competence as well. When something happens, we are ready.”
Kristian Ole Jakobsen, Deputy Chief Executive Officer in ESVAGT, said, “It is the Esvagt vision to provide safety and support at sea, and our colleagues on board Esvagt Njord have demonstrated how we live that vision in the best way possible. By reacting quickly and competently to the call from the crew of the distressed fishing vessel, the Esvagt Njord crew has demonstrated how safety remains the very essence of our core value. We are very proud to be able to make a decisive, positive difference and to ensure a happy outcome from a very difficult situation at sea.”
Since 1981, Esvagt has rescued 148 people from life-threatening situations at sea.