The Press and Journal (Aberdeen and Aberdeenshire)
North Sea operators work to remove cabin sharing,
North Sea operators say they are trying to address safety issues
Aseries of North Sea operators are working to remove cabin sharing offshore “wherever possible” in order to prevent the spread of the coronavirus.
With a growing frequency of suspected Covid-19 cases on offshore installations, the RMT union said social distancing is a “big issue” among the workforce.
Taqa, Shell, Repsol Sinopec and Ithaca Energy are among those taking steps to minimise the sharing of cabins, with reduced activity offshore helping to allow that.
It comes as one worker, who wished to remain anonymous, complained that staff had to share rooms on BP’s Clair installation in the West of Shetland, saying this didn’t meet government guidelines and his concerns have “fallen on deaf ears”.
However, BP said it has been reviewing offshore activity on all of its assets to reduce the number on board. A spokesman said: “This will allow us to reduce the number of people sharing cabins and promote social distancing.”
The energy giant has also put in place “robust premobilisation screenings” at the heliport, with a risk assessment against checklists from the UK
Government and Oil and Gas UK, as well as temperature checks.
Many offshore rigs operate on a 2+1 cabin basis in which two people on dayshift share a cabin for the night, while a nightshift worker uses it in the day.
Industry body Oil and Gas UK has been advising operators to reduce sharing wherever possible. Last week Orkney and Shetland MP Alistair Carmichael said some of his constituents who work offshore were concerned they may be in an environment “where they are not properly protected”.
Repsol Sinopec Resources UK said it is “seeking to minimise cabin sharing wherever possible”, adding it is “managing staffing and shifts to enable social distancing”. Taqa said, as well as pre-flight temperature checks and increased cleaning offshore, it was “encouraging crew to keep two metres apart whenever practicable” and offering single occupancy cabins wherever it can.