J-U Rig W.D. KENT Loss – 1976
Background: While working for DPC during a freak severe storm on 23 February 1976, the Reading & Bates’ jack up drilling rig W. D. KENT was struck by a drifting or anchor-dragging vessel. The collision caused the jack up to topple and subsequently sink. Although it, too, was damaged, the vessel that hit the jack up was deemed capable of reaching a port of refuge; however, it sank while under tow to Sharjah. Both the drilling rig and the vessel that struck it were actual total losses. Neither was salvaged.
Discussion. I believe the vessel that struck the drilling rig was a dumb barge notwithstanding that one UAE website currently calls it a “tug”. Most other sources identify the vessel as NEPTUNE 6, a Forex Neptune drill tender, but a U.S. National Academy of Sciences document states the drill tender NEPTUNE 6 was lost in 1973 (were that correct, NEPTUNE 6 could not have collided with W. D. KENT in February 1976). Furthermore, in a first notification of accident telexed to the U.S. Embassy in Abu Dhabi, the Dubai U.S. Consulate identified the drifting vessel as a McDermott lay barge named “WADICO-3”. Since McDermott neither owned nor chartered any such vessel at the time in question I assume the Dubai Consul was actually referring to Fluor’s (ex Western Offshore Drilling and Exploration Co.) drill tender WESTERN OFFSHORE No. III.
Question. What is the correct name of the vessel that collided with W. D. KENT and what type of vessel was it?