Was sitting offshore on a rig, also popularly known as the Grand Museum of the North Sea (aka Britannia, Shitannia, Schraapnoeke and many others) , were 6 poor souls, 3 of whom were awaiting a chopper at 1:30 pm to visit dear old Amsterdam. We were enjoying a quiet little nap in the recreation room when a rude bang and a shake woke us up. With a series of such bangs following in quick succession, the first signs of panic hit in!! Only to add to it was the reassurances from the rig big bosses were phrases like "Don't worry, nothing's wrong ... we're gonna take care of it". If nothing's wrong, how come things need taking care of, remains an unsolved mystery though.
Thus spake the "rig oracle" and back we were to our lazing place (aka the smoking room). My colleague and I started discussing about the "shittiness rating" of the rig, which according to her wasn't as bad as we people usually described it as. A few hours later she'd be cursing she ever uttered those words!! :-)
13:00 A quick visit to my room revealed a broken cabinet door hanging on its hinges and a broken power panel door further down the corridors.
13:20 A couple of bangs and shakes more and a PA saying choppers have been delayed owing to a slight malfunction of the rig legs.
And now dawned light on the fog ... 54 knots of wind were more than enough to ensure the hydraulic jack up system on the rig legs started to give way and the leg had started sinking. In a vain effort to keep the hydraulic pressure up, the rig guys had started pumping, only to realize that one of the lines were leaking!! Strangely enough, this news spread over the rig like someone threw a light into a pool of oil!!
15:00 As all efforts of controlling the ever descending legs seemed in vain, it was time for panic. Emergency meetings convened and people ran around. 6 people still in the recreation room smoking or sleeping.
17:00 Plenty of phone calls back to town to send in live spice, all we heard were snickers and concerned laughs of our colleagues back in town and reassurances, nothing's going to happen!!
18:00 Rig alarms and PA-s ... "Prepare to abandon rig ... please leave behind everything you have except a bag with enough clothing for 24 hours and toilet items."
As I thankfully boarded the first of the three choppers at 18:30 back to shore, the last look back at a tilted rig with one leg down by almost 6m, strangely wasn't the most frightening vision I'd ever seen. Just confirms, death makes you stronger!! :-)
P.S> This was Tuesday 26th. I had to go back to the "fixed rig" on Thu 28th again. And now am back again on shore recovering from the wonderful adrenaline rush and the haunting images!!