On February 14th workers staying on board a floating hotel next to an oil rig in the North Sea were evacuated in what turned out to be a false alarm. The evacuation of the Safe Scandinavia ‘flotel’ was an expensive procedure, one paid for entirely by UK taxpayers.
A 23-year-old woman, who many are blaming for the incident, appeared in court last week. The woman had been detained by the manager of the flotel and there was some speculation that she had even been sedated, according to the BBC.
“Hundreds of workers on the Safe Scandinavia were evacuated following allegations by a worker on the Safe Scandinavia that there was a possible suspicious device on the flotel,” said Britannia Operator Ltd, which operates the oil field.
Bomb disposal teams were deployed during the incident and coastguard and RAF helicopters and planes assisted in the evacuation.
According to offshore worker Gary Hay, the evacuation cost the oil companies in terms of lost production time, “but it will be Joe Public who will pick up the cost of the evacuation operation”, he said.
According to union representative Jake Molloy of the Offshore Industry Liaison Committee, the evacuation was the unnecessary result of panic by rig management. He says a girl had a dream about a bomb which became a rumour that reached the ears of senior rig management, causing them to issue an alert.
“That appears to have sparked one of the biggest security operations the North Sea has ever seen,” said Mr Molloy, describing the incident as “complete madness on behalf of everyone. There was never any reason to evacuate the platform … The cost has been astronomical and there was never any need for it”.
The Safe Scandinavia hotel is owned and operated by ProSafe, a company listed in Oslo, Norway.