A fire on a North Sea oil platform
led to the evacuation of 118 workers. The fire broke out on the Thistle Alpha platform
, 325 miles north of Aberdeen and only five miles inside the UK search and rescue area.
Seven helicopters, including two from Norway
, and a Nimrod from RAF Kinloss were sent to the rig.
The majority of the workers were airlifted to other facilities nearby, but 41 essential staff were left on the platform while firefighters tackled the blaze.
The fire in the turbine area of the rig caused a full-scale emergency in poor weather conditions but was quickly brought under control.
The workers who were flown to the Murchison and Dunlin platforms as a precautionary measure were later taken back to the facility. There were no casualties.
The incident occurred a week after health and safety inspectors warned the North Sea offshore industry to improve safety on its oil and gas installations
The damning report by the Health
and Safety Executive looked at 100 North Sea installations
and said that maintenance was not given enough attention.
The Thistle Alpha rig underwent inspections in May and earlier this month, and it is understood that no serious problems were found. Graham Tran
, a national officer for the Unite union, which represents workers in the offshore oil industry
, said it would co-operate with an investigation into the incident as well as evacuation procedures.