Rescue mission - West Gamma


  • Full gale force (waves up to 9-12 metres, wind 55-60 knots).
  • Night operation.
  • Helicopter winching not possible due to strong winds.
  • Two ESVAGT vessels rescued 46 out of 51 survivors.
  • No serious injuries.
  • The Fast Rescue Boat (FRB) on the ESVAGT OMEGA launched and recovered 7 times.
  • Total four vessels participated.


  • FRB adverse weather capability necessary at wet evacuation of survivors.
  • Sufficient search light capability important (later 5000 w search lights were installed on all vessels).
  • Excellent cooperation between helicopters and vessels experienced.
  • Strategy with survivors connecting together in groups of 5-6 proved efficient.


On the 20 August 1990 the accommodation rig "West Gamma" (WG) was on tow from Norwegian to German sector. Due to heavy sea conditions the tow was lost and WG started drifting towards the German coast.

ESVAGT OMEGA was released from her standby duties at the Danish Dan Field and PROTECTOR released from the Gorm Field to go to assistance.

No helicopter lifting operations could be performed due to a damaged helideck and heavy movement of the legs. At the time of rescue all helicopters but one was released.

During the night the situation for the WG deteriorated and evacuation was necessary. The crew of WG tied up in groups of 5-6 persons and jumped into the sea group by group.

During rescue with the FRB each group was spotted and illuminated by use of the helicopter's searchlight.


ESVAGT A/S was awarded the "Leith International Conference - Offshore Safety Award 1991" for the rescue.




Asbjørn Rislaa: "West Gamma's forlis. Hendelsesforløp og observasjoner" (in Norwegian)