Norway’s state Auditor General’s office has determined that Norwegian authorities did not sufficiently follow up those who survived the capsizing of the oil platform Alexander Kielland in 1980. They found no basis, however, for a new investigation.
The Auditor General (Riksrevisjonen) released its examination of how the authorities handled their responsibilities after the capsizing, which killed 123 of the 212 people on board. The 89 survivors of the accident on the Ekofisk oil field, along with families of those who drowned, have complained that they never received the information they needed afterwards.
Some family members were never even officially informed of the deaths of platform workers by the state Sosialdepartement (the ministry in charge of social issues at the time). “It’s serious that the state didn’t make it a priority to follow up with survivors and families of victims after the accident,” the report states.
Investigations into the cause of the capsizing on March 27, 1980 were “thorough,” the state auditor concluded, but responsibility for it were never fully determined. There have been earlier investigations, but the auditors found no basis for a new one now. Large portions of the technical evidence, they noted, are no longer available, and uncertainy would swirl around any new information from witnesses or survivors because of the time lapse involved.
The Alexander Kielland was owned by Stavanger Drilling, operated by Phillips Petroleum and built by CFEM in France. They mostly blamed each other, and a settlement was reached in 1991 that wasn’t made public. The brother of one of the platform workers killed told news bureau NTB he was glad the state auditors were “so clear” in their criticism on several points, but disappointed there was no recommendation for further investigation. He leads a network of involved parties and said they would continue working for a new probe into the tragedy.