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Workers evacuated from North Sea platform after structural inspection

23 October 2019

A North Sea oil platform was shut down and all 115 workers evacuated after a subsea structural inspection. The platform operator, EnQuest, said it evacuated the Thistle platform, about 200 km north-east of Shetland, in a precautionary move on October 22.

Thistle A platform - Image: EnQuest
Thistle A platform - Image: EnQuest

The company said personnel were transferred to the nearby Dunlin Alpha platform by helicopter. The coastguard said its Sumburgh helicopter and one from the Norwegian offshore sector were involved.

EnQuest later said the inspection related to a "support element on a redundant subsea storage tank".

The company's North Sea managing director, Bob Davenport, said: "The safety of our people is our absolute priority. Our offshore installation manager took proactive action to transfer everyone from the platform as a precaution following yesterday's inspection.

"This was carried out safely and quickly, with plans then made for their onward travel home. Further inspection work will be conducted and the platform will remain shut down until that has concluded and any necessary remedial action undertaken.

"I'd like to thank everyone involved for their support including the team onboard Dunlin, employees, contractors and the Maritime and Coastguard Agency."

The Health and Safety Executive (HSE) has confirmed it is investigating.

This is one of the few times that a UK platform has been evacuated due to structural concerns.

In 2017, CNR International’s Ninian South was evacuated ahead of a storm to safely manage the structural integrity of the platform, according to the company.

And the same year, Repsol Sinopec Resources UK (RSRUK) also agreed to suspend output from the now-decommissioned Buchan Alpha platform as the HSE had concerns about fatigue in the rig’s legs.

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