Workers evacuated from offshore drilling rig under repair

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More than 60 persons on board the Norwegian operated drilling rig “Island Innovator” were evacuated early Friday when water started gushing into the rig’s pump room and the rig started to list to one side. The rig was berthed at Hanøytangen just west of Bergen for routine maintenance when a leak in the pump room set off the alarm.

A total of around 100 persons were on board the rig, which is operated by Bergen-based Odfjell Drilling, but 37 stayed on board. “We have plugged the pipe that caused the leak and it’s now been stopped,” Gisle Johanson of Odfjell Drilling told news bureau NTB, around five hours after alarms rang at 4:30am.

Enough water gushed in that the rig was visibly listing to one side after just an hour. Water was thus pumped into a ballast tank and a high-power tug boat was used to stabilize the rig and help get it back into upright position.

One crew member was slightly injured during the evacuation, while the actual incident was considered “dramatic” by those in the pump room, reported Norwegian Broadcasting (NRK). “It all happened very fast,” one crew member told NRK. “Water was pouring in while those in the pump room tried to flee to avoid the masses of water.”

Johanson said the situation was under control by mid-morning. He declined to speculate on the cause of the accident.

newsinenglish.no staff