Quote Originally Posted by Press and Journal
staff taken off Songa Dee as precaution after heavy seas batter offshore supply ship against it
Oil workers evacuated from North Sea drilling rig

By Ryan Crighton

Published: 20/01/2010

Oil workers have been evacuated from a North Sea drilling rig after heavy seas battered an offshore supply boat against it for almost an hour.

Marathon Oil evacuated staff from the Songa Dee as a precaution after the Far Grimshader vessel crashed into it late on Monday.

The supply ship suffered engine problems in rough seas. Both the rig and the ship escaped the incident with little damage, however.

The late-night drama unfolded in the Alvheim field, 130 miles west of Norway, close to the British sector of the North Sea.

Farstad Shipping, the owner of the vessel, said she has now been tied to another vessel 200ft from the rig. “There are no injuries to personnel,” the firm said. “The vessel has damages to the hull, however no leakages were discovered. At the moment the vessel is held in position clear of the rig by another supply vessel.

“We have no indication of any damage to the rig.”

The rig has about 100 personnel while the supply ship carries a crew of 14.

Marathon had kept about half the crew on the rig to keep it operational last night.

Songa Offshore won the £160million contract from Marathon and Lundin Petroleum in 2006. The deal has seen the Songa Dee operate in UK and Norwegian waters since 2008.

The incident comes just months after a north Atlantic oil field was closed by a tanker accident. BP had to close its Schiehallion field after a huge floating platform, also named Schiehallion, was forced out of action when it was hit by the shuttle tanker Loch Rannoch on October 9.

The tanker was docking to take oil from the platform. Its only hose reel was damaged and work cannot resume until it is repaired. The shutdown is said to have lost the firm £500million in revenues, although the company refused to discuss this figure. A spokesman said the income was “deferred” rather than lost. Production at the oil field resumes next month.