Shell evacuates over 50 workers from North Sea oil platform

Shell Brent Alpha platformBy DARA BUTTERFIELD

Shell has evacuated more than 50 workers from Brent Alpha, a North Sea Oil platform – 115 miles north east of Lerwick.

The mechanical failure of a crane on Sunday at the Brent Alpha platform caused a large container to fall into the North Sea close to subsea pipelines. A Shell spokeswoman reported that it was a non-emergency evacuation.

She said: “Shell UK can confirm that an incident occurred on its Brent Alpha platform involving a lifting operation to transfer a container unit to an adjacent support vessel at around 1750hrs on Sunday 28 September 2014.

 “Personnel on the platform were called to muster, all of whom are safe and well.

“During the lifting operation, a mechanical failure affected the crane. Its operator was able to manoeuvre the container safely away from the platform and its support vessel.”

“The container remains attached to the crane by rope, which has been clamped to ensure it will not sink further and pose any risk to infrastructure on the sea bed. It is currently located around 20ft below the sea surface.

“As a precaution the Brent Alpha and Bravo, which were already shut down as part of ongoing maintenance works, were depressurised.”

Shell is planning an effort to retrieve the container and has already dispatched a support vessel to the Brent field. Meanwhile, 28 people remain on board the platform.

Shell said its Brent Alpha and Bravo platforms were already shut down as part of ongoing maintenance.

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