The Press and Journal (Aberdeen and Aberdeenshire)

‘Seriously ill’ worker is airlifted from oil vessel Coastguard helicopter’s ‘life or death’ mission as virus

Strikes

- BY ALLISTER THOMAS

A“seriously ill” offshore worker has been airlifted to hospital after contractin­g coronaviru­s in what emergency crews described as a “life-or-death situation”.

The coastguard sent out an emergency helicopter from Sumburgh in Shetland on Wednesday night to evacuate the worker from the Aoka Mizu floating production, storage and offloading (FPSO) facility in the West of Shetland.

Operator Hurricane Energy confirmed the worker had contracted the virus and is receiving treatment in hospital.

The Aoka Mizu serves the Lancaster field, Hurricane’s flagship fractured basement developmen­t, around 80 miles west of Shetland.

An HM Coastguard spokeswoma­n said: “Our helicopter­s are used in life-or-death situations and while the majority of Covid-19 cases will not fall into that category, this one does.”

The coastguard added its crew have since been quarantine­d and the helicopter deep cleaned at another location and temporaril­y closed.

“Production operations

affected”

Hurricane said: “We can confirm a crew member on the Aoka Mizu FPSO at the Lancaster field has been evacuated to the mainland for medical reasons and subsequent­ly tested positive for Covid-19.

“Hurricane is supporting Bluewater, installati­on operator of the Aoka Mizu FPSO, with its response.

“Bluewater is working within the guidelines provided by NHS Scotland,

Health Protection Scotland, and Oil and Gas UK in determinin­g the next steps.

“Production operations at Lancaster have not been affected.”

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’s impact on the oil price in recent weeks, confirmed earlier that it has suspended a planned capital markets day due to the outbreak.

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 ??  ?? FACILITY: The worker was airlifted from the Aoka Mizu production vessel in the West of Shetland region
FACILITY: The worker was airlifted from the Aoka Mizu production vessel in the West of Shetland region
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