Monday, November 26, 2007
Workers evacuated from a North Sea oil platform are returning to the rig after a fire was put out, the Health and Safety Executive said. Ninety of the 159 people on board the remote Thistle Alpha platform, 120 miles north-west of Shetland, were airlifted to safety following the blaze. There were no casualties and the crews are now returning to the rig, an HSE spokeswoman said.Only last week, health and safety inspectors warned the North Sea offshore industry to improve safety on its oil and gas installations. A damning report by the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) revealed maintenance of appliances is not being given enough attention. Nearly 100 North Sea installations were targeted in the three-year HSE inspection.In more than half the platforms the overall state of the plant was found to be poor. Seven helicopters, including two from Norway, and a Nimrod from RAF Kinloss were initially scrambled to rescue the workers from the Thistle Alpha rig. But the operation was later scaled down, RAF Kinloss spokesman Michael Mulford said. The workers were airlifted to three neighbouring oil platforms five or six miles away.