Offshore security drama costs £1M


An offshore catering worker is reported to have been taken into custody today after an imagined bomb resulted in a £1M ($1.9M) operation to evacuate an offshore platform. Between 500-700 people on the accommodation platform, or ‘flotel’, Safe Scandinavia, attached to an offshore production field 115m west of Aberdeen, are reported to have mustered for evacuation yesterday (Sunday) morning. The operated was prompted by reports, said to have originated with a British woman employed on the rig’s catering staff, of an explosive device on the platform. Preparations for the evacuation involved police, bomb disposal, Coast Guard and RAF resources including 14 helicopters and two RAF aircraft. About 150 workers are reported to have been flown from the Safe Scandinavia onto other platforms before the risk was discounted. Oilfield production was not affected, but the evacuation is quoted variously as costing £500,000-£1M. Jake Molloy of the Offshore Industry Liaison Committee is widely quoted in the press as saying that it was “inconceivable” that anyone could smuggle an explosive device past the very tough security measures applied to offshore workers. “Even a bottle of aspirin will be taken off you during security checks and returned to you on the rig after you get there,” he is quoted as saying. Molloy is quoted as disagreeing with the decision to evacuate, but sympathising with the installation’s management. Britannia Operator, the oilfield manager, is reported as saying that the evacuation was a precautionary measure.