128 Lifted to Safety in Rig Blaze


128 Lifted to Safety in Rig Blaze
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Workers have been evacuated from a North Sea oil platform after an electrical fire.

Some 128 personnel were taken off the Tern Alpha platform 105 miles off Shetland by RAF and coastguard helicopters.

The fire, which broke out in a gas generator on the Shell platform at about 12.50am, was brought under control shortly before 5am.

No one was injured in the blaze, which is believed to have been caused when a high voltage electrical motor overheated.

Many of the "non-essential" workers taken off the Shell-operated rig, were dropped off at Shell's nearby North Cormorant platform while the blaze was brought under control.

Four helicopters were scrambled to help with the evacuation and were supported by a Nimrod aircraft.

A total of 56 people remained on the platform during the fire and Shell said all the rig's 184 workers had been accounted for.

Grampian Police and Health and Safety Executive had been informed of the incident, said a Shell spokeswoman.

She said: "All safety systems worked as designed and the platform has been safely shut down and is stable. One hundred and twenty eight non-essential personnel were down-manned as a precaution to nearby platforms, leaving a core crew of 56 people."

She said the shut-down of the oil-producing platform would have no effect on the country's energy supply.

(C) 2006 The Scotsman. via ProQuest Information and Learning Company; All Rights Reserved

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