A “seriously ill” offshore worker believed to have coronavirus has been airlifted to hospital from Hurricane Energy’s Lancaster field in the West of Shetland.
The coastguard sent out an emergency helicopter form Sumburgh on Wednesday night in what it described as a “life and death situation” to evacuate the worker, believed to have Covid-19, from the Aoka Mizu floating production, storage and offloading (FPSO) facility.
The vessel serves the Lancaster field, Hurricane’s flagship fractured basement development, around 80 miles west of Shetland.
An HM Coastguard spokeswoman said: “The helicopter from Sumburgh was sent to a floating production storage and offloading unit 80 miles west of Shetland last night (25 March), to pick up a person who is seriously ill and is believed to have Covid-19.
“Our helicopters are used in life and death situations and while the majority of Covid-19 cases will not fall into that category, this one does.”
The coastguard added that the crew have since been quarantined and the helicopter deep cleaned at another location and temporarily taken out of operation.
Industry sources verified that the FPSO in question was the Aoka Mizu after confirmation the incident had not taken place at the BP-operated Glen Lyon or Foinaven vessels – the only others in the region.
Hurricane Energy has been contacted for comment.
A secondary helicopter at the coastguard’s Sumburgh base is still in use to respond to 999 or other distress signals.
The UK oil and gas industry has been taking numerous measures to halt the spread of the virus offshore, including reducing manning levels and non-essential activities.
Hurricane, whose share price has experienced dramatic fluctuations due to the virus’ impact on the oil price in recent weeks, confirmed earlier that it has suspended a planned capital markets day due to the outbreak.