Beast from the East disrupts several North Sea platforms

Freezing temperatures have resulted in several North Sea platforms being down-manned, with one understood to be facing a crew revolt over working conditions.

Twenty four workers have been evacuated from Repsol Sinopec’s Beatrice Alpha over an issue with the water supply, brought on by freezing pipes.

An essential crew of 22 personnel remain on the installation, which lies 51 miles north-east of Inverness.

Wood, which operates the platform on Repsol’s behalf, said “measures are in place” to ensure those who remain have ample access to water.

A spokeswoman said: “The safety and wellbeing of our teams offshore is our priority and we are currently working proactively to address the issue.”

Those remaining are being provided with bottled water while the problem is fixed.

On the Marathon Oil run Brae Alpha rig non-essential staff were being transferred to a neighbouring installation yesterday, while a union boss claimed some crew had downed tools entirely.

As the Beast from the East battered the North Sea, it caused widespread chaos offshore with many rig workers claiming that water supplies, heating and hot food have not been adequately provided.

RMT regional organiser Jake Molloy claimed about a dozen workers had “downed tools” on Brae Alpha due to prolonged shortages.

He said: “There comes a point at which the company has to consider whether or not they can sustain the welfare and provide reasonable accommodation standards on the facility.”

Marathon said Brae Alpha’s water supply had been shut off after pipes froze on the platform, 155 miles north-east of Aberdeen.

The company said it had decided to transfer non-essential staff to a nearby installation, understood to be East Brae.

It declined to comment on claims that some staff were refusing to work.

Meanwhile, Chevron shut down production on the Alba Northern platform due to a power supply glitch.

Located 130 miles north-east of Aberdeen, the rig lost power on Tuesday morning with almost 130 workers on board, Chevron confirmed.

However, due to the severe conditions it was deemed too risky to fly the staff back to shore.

And BP said it partially down-manned its Etap platform on Wednesday after issues were identified with the heating and portable water systems.

However the company has confirmed that the problems have now been resolved and personnel are being returned to the installation.

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