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August 25th, 2011

Focus on Shell’s Offshore Safety Record

Royal Dutch Shell is trying to defend its offshore safety record, after attacks by environmental safety groups over a leak from a Shell platform in the North Sea.

Shell has confirmed that it has managed to plug the leak from its Gannet Alpha platform which is located just 112 miles off Aberdeen, Scotland.  The leak resulted in more than 200 tons of oil being spilt into the ocean.  It is being called one of the worst leaks in the region in more than a decade.  Over the weekend, Shell confirmed that it had been able to close the valve from where oil had been leaking into the ocean.

Royal Dutch Shell is facing criticism from maritime lawyers, environment groups and offshore safety regulators.  The World Wildlife Federation has called on the UK government to immediately restrict all of Shell’s offshore drilling activities in the North Sea, till an investigation is completed.  The World Wildlife Federation is also calling on inspections of other oil and gas drilling rigs and platform infrastructure in the North Sea.  The WWF is especially concerned about aging rigs.

Concerns over Shell’s safety performance had been high even before the Ganett Alpha leak.  In July 2011, the Health and Safety Executive had sent a letter to Royal Dutch Shell, outlining its concerns after inspections of the company’s rigs.  Several news media also carried reports on an internal investigation that revealed severe safety problems on the rig at least eight years ago.  The inspections were carried out in 2003 on the same platform that sprung a leak this month, and showed that there were at least 317 unreliable fire and gas sensors on the rig.

The maritime lawyers at Schechter, Shaffer & Harris, L.L.P., Accident & Injury Lawyers represent persons injured due saftey regulation failures and the families of victims involved in these incidents.

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