On Sunday 26 May, the tugboat Jascon 4 ran into difficulties whilst engaged in static towing operations, capsized and sank with a crew of 12 on board.
At the time, the tug was approx. 30 km off the coast of Escravos in Nigeria, offering assistance to a tanker being loaded at a Single Mooring System (SBM). The rescue operation involving helicopters and other vessels swung into action almost immediately. At that time, there was no trace of the crew members.
At the moment of the disaster, the Lewek Toucan, chartered by West African Ventures, with a team of DCN divers on board, was 17 hours sailing distance from the accident site. The team was involved in saturation diving work for the Okpoho-Okono 16 pipeline project being undertaken by DCN.
As Internet reports about the accident continued to develop, the realisation grew among the divers that there could still be survivors of the Jascon 4, trapped in an air pocket.
Direct contact between the client and the management of DCN resulted in the immediate order to head for the accident site and offer all possible assistance in finding the crew members.
The current operation was immediately halted, with divers from DCN actually in saturation at a pressure of 70 metres. The Jascon 4 had however sunk in 30 metre-deep water. The 17 hour sailing time was used to bring the divers to a saturation pressure of 30 metres. Once at the accident site, the divers discovered that the wreck was upside down, and the cook on board the Jascon 4 was indeed trapped in an air pocket in a still intact compartment. After 62 hours trapped in the air pocket, he was brought to the surface safe and well, by the divers from DCN.
This successful rescue raised hope among the DCN team that other live victims would perhaps be found, but further investigations sadly revealed only the remains of 10 deceased crew members.
The 6 divers, the deck crew and technical staff worked uninterrupted. They can be duly proud of the result of their work: 1 person rescued alive, and 10 crew members retrieved from the wreck. Even the retrieval of remains represents an important contribution to the mourning process for the victims’ families.