Statoil evacuates hundreds after oil rig damaged

Fourth Estate Cooperative Staff

Oslo, Norway (4E) – A leak in one of the ballast tanks at Floatel Superior on Wednesday prompted Norway’s state-owned energy giant Statoil to evacuate more than 300 non-essential staff form a North Sea platform off the coast of Norway.

“Around 330 people were evacuated and we’re halting the evacuation at this stage,” said Einar Knudsen, a spokesman for the Joint Rescue Coordination Center Southern Norway.

He added that some 40 people were allowed to stay for security of the rig. It is believed that the rupture was caused by a collision with an anchor. The Floatel Superior is a floating hotel and office for staff working on production platform Njord A, which is closed for maintenance currently.

The officials managed to stabilize the rig just an hour after the leak. However, the authorities evacuated all non-essential staff as a precautionary measure.

“We normally have two layers of protection against leaks, and since there remained only one, we decided to bring non-essential personnel to safety,” group spokesman Ola Anders Skauby told the press. “We take the situation seriously,” he said.

Knudsen said that six helicopters were used to airlift employees from the Floatel to Njord A in difficult weather conditions.

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