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September 15th, 2011

Offshore Safety Concerns Over North Sea Oil Rigs

Offshore safety regulators in the UK are concerned about deteriorating equipment on oil rig in the North Sea after a leak from a Shell pipeline just off Aberdeen.  According to documents obtained by an offshore workers union, the Health and Safety Executive is concerned about the safety of these rigs.

The Health and Safety Executive has sent notices to several rig operators after inspectors found evidence of damage, including corrosion that could have caused a serious safety incident in the North Sea.  Inspectors found strong evidence of corrosion that could have resulted in damage to several oil installations in the North Sea.  According to officials with the Health and Safety Executive, at least 5% of the oil rigs in the North Sea are in poor condition.  Over the past three years, almost all of them have needed some kind of repairs.

These concerns about the safety of oil rigs emerged after a leak involving a Shell platform.  The platform was located 122 miles off Aberdeen, and Shell has now confirmed that it has managed to plug the leak.

However, a former Shell employee has raised questions about the company’s maintenance record at the Gannet platform that sprung a leak last week.  According to the employee, the company has had several safety troubles this year.  It clocked in more than 15,000 hours in repairs.  The company has had maintenance problems with its platforms elsewhere in the North Sea too.

The maritime lawyers at Schechter, Shaffer & Harris, L.L.P., Accident & Injury Lawyers represent offshore oil workers injured in accidents, and families of offshore workers killed in accidents.

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