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Key Biscayne Deep Dives

Twice a year PDA's Lionfish IV heads up to Lancelin to dive the wreck of the Jack-up Oil Rig Key Biscayne. 
This means we are able to offer a different type 
of diving to the regular Rottnest Day trips. Some of the options available on these trips are:
  • Deep Dives to 42m
  • Nitrox Diving Training
  • Deep Diver Training
  • TEC Courses
  • Rebreather training/Dives

Our Next scheduled trip is : 16th March - 19th March 2018

For bookings, costs and more information email one of the stores via the contact page. 

Key Biscayne’ a non-propelled self elevating drilling unit (jack up barge), three triangular truss legs (108.8m length). Four 25 ton deck mounted cranes, 18.2m diameter helipad on starboard side, accommodation for 95 persons in a four level accommodation block.
Double bottom, machinery deck with two longitudinal bulkheads.
The ‘Key Biscayne’ was last seen afloat shortly after 1845 hours Friday 1 September 1983, 10 nautical miles off Ledge Point on the coast of Western Australia. Shortly before that time the tow line to the rig supply vessel ‘Atlas Van Diemen' parted and the standby vessel ‘Argus Guard’, which had been stationed about 5 cables astern, pulled off to starboard to clear the rig as it was running down with the weather. ‘Key Biscayne’ was clearly seen when about 2 cables off the port beam of the standby vessel both visually and by radar.
However, by the time ‘Argus Guard’ completed its turn, the rig was no longer visible and radar contact had been lost.
‘Key Biscayne’ was on voyage under tow by two rig supply vessels ‘Lady Sonia’ and ‘Atlas Van Diemen’ from a location off Darwin to Fremantle for stacking in Cockburn Sound pending its future employment.
The loss of the rig was the combination of a series of events during the final day when tow lines parted and gale force winds, rough seas and heavy swells buffeted the rig. All 52 persons aboard ‘Key Biscayne’ were evacuated by helicopter and were taken to nearby Lancelin township without loss or injury.
The tow line to ‘Lady Sonia’ parted at 0644 hours 1 September and for the next twelve hours ‘Atlas Van Diemen' attempted to hold ‘Key Biscayne’ into the weather and away from the lee shore. Concern for the safety of the crew and of the rig was felt soon after the tow line to the supply vessel ‘Lady Sonia’ had parted. Shortly after 0900 hours the rig transmitted a PAN message seeking assistance. By 0930 hours this message had been converted into a MAYDAY and helicopter assistance was sought to evacuate crew. At 1110 hours the first man was lifted from the helipad and by 1230 hours all non-essential personnel had been evacuated by both RAAF and civilian helicopters. Throughout these operations the rig was wallowing in the heavy seas and swells, rolling and pitching heavily.
During the day it was noticed that the vessel was settling by the stern and listing to starboard, as heavy green seas were continually washing over the main deck. The bow of the rig was seen lifting clear of the seas and the stern immersed as the vessel pitched up to ten degrees forward and about twenty five degrees by the stern. At the same time the rig was rolling up to fifteen degrees each side of the upright. All efforts to reconnect ‘Lady Sonia’ were unsuccessful. At about 1600 hours it was decided that the remaining crew should evacuate before dark and return the next day when conditions were expected to moderate. The drift of the rig toward the shore had been slowed by an anchor and the weight on the tow line. With all line-throwing rockets spent and conditions on deck too hazardous to work no useful purpose was seen in remaining on board. By 1620 hours the remaining crew had been lifted from the rig.
The three support vessels remained in the area during the night. At about  0830 hours Friday 2 September ‘Argus Guard’ recovered a guitar case, life jackets, paper and a trail of debris indicating the location of the sunken rig.


 
 
See AJ Barrs video of the 2016 trip.