Alexander L Kielland platform capsize accident - issue 261

Issue Number: 261


The capsize of the semi-submersible 'flotel' (floating hotel) Alexander L Kielland on 27 March 1980 was the worst disaster in Norwegian waters since World War II. Of the 212 men on the platform at the time, 123 died.

The accident started with one of the bracings failing due to fatigue, causing a succession of failures of all bracings attached to this leg. Within 20 minutes of the initial failure the rig had capsized completely, floating upside down with just the bottom of the legs visible in the sea.

Inadequate evacuation and rescue operation contributed to the scale of loss of lives in the accident and a consequence of the disaster was a tightening of command organization on offshore installations in the North Sea to establish a clear source of authority for ordering abandonment in crises.

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