On September 23, 2004, the Office of Pipeline Safety issued the following advisory bulletin to owners and operators of gas and hazardous liquid pipeline systems in the Gulf of Mexico and adjacent state waters regarding the potential for damage to pipeline facilities caused by the passage of Hurricane Ivan. The advisory warned that pipeline safety problems may have been caused by the passage of Hurricane Ivan on September 16, 2004. RSPA received several reports of damage to pipeline facilities, particularly offshore Louisiana.
Pipeline operators should consider taking the following actions regarding the gas and hazardous liquid pipelines located in areas impacted by Hurricane Ivan:
- Identify persons who normally engage in shallow water commercial fishing, shrimping, and other marine vessel operations and caution them that submerged offshore pipelines may have become unprotected on the sea floor. Marine vessels operating in water depths comparable to a vessel’s draft or when operating bottom dragging equipment can be damaged and their crews endangered by an encounter with a submerged pipeline.
- Identify and caution marine vessel operators in offshore shipping lanes and other offshore areas where Hurricane Ivan may have affected a pipeline that deploying fishing nets or anchors, and dredging operations may damage the pipeline, their vessels, and endanger their crews.
- In the process of bringing offshore and inland transmission facilities back online, operators are advised to check for structural damage to piping, valves, emergency shutdown systems, risers and supporting systems. Aerial inspections of pipeline routes should be conducted to check for leaks in the transmission systems. In areas where floating and jack-up rigs have moved and their path could have been over the pipelines, operators are advised to review possible routes and to check for sub-sea pipeline damage where required.
- Identify and correct any conditions on the pipeline that violate the Federal pipeline safety regulations. ( 601; 49 CFR 1.53).