Dutch contractor Royal Boskalis Westminster confirmed that an incident occurred onboard an FPSO that is being transported by its heavy lift vessel Vanguard from China to Brazil.

The incident happened when the ship was sailing near Durban, South Africa, carrying a newbuild FPSO. The ship requested emergency assistance from South Africa’s Marine Rescue Coordination Centre (MRCC), stating five Brazilian personnel onboard the ship were ill and another one had died.

The six people, who had been appointed by a contractor to conduct preservation works on board of the FPSO during transit, illegally consumed a cleaning liquid found on the FPSO.

Boskalis said this substance is usually used for degreasing purposes, presumably containing a mixture of ethanol and methanol.

“The affected persons reported this to our crew approximately 36 hours after consumption at which point serious signs of illness were becoming apparent. Swift and immediate action was taken by our crew. The Vanguard changed course towards the coast of South Africa and a medical evacuation by helicopter was organised,” said Boskalis in a statement

Five of the contractors were evacuated, hospitalised in Durban, and are successfully recovering from the intoxication. Sadly, one of the affected individuals passed away before the medical assistance was onsite.

Boskalis expressed its deepest condolences to the family and loved ones of the deceased person. It also stressed that Boskalis has a zero tolerance policy with regard to alcohol consumption on its offshore vessels.

The FPSO and Vanguard have since resumed their journey to Brazil.