The Health and Safety Executive has confirmed that an unexploded device previously reported to be sitting near the North Sea’s Ninian Central Platform has yet to be removed.
The device, believed to be a depth charge, was detected in August but is not through to be within the blast radius of the platform itself.
HSE also confirmed that a specialist company has been contracted to remove the device but that no removal date has been set.
When originally located two months ago a risk assessment concluded the device should be removed at the “earliest opportunity.”
An exclusion zone has been set up around the located device to ensure the safety of passing vessels.
The Ninian Central is owned and operated by Canadian Natural Resources (CNR).
Located on the seabed, the device is believed to be 130 metres from the Ninian Central Platform, located in the East Shetland Basin, in block 3/3 and commonly has just under 200 staff on-board.
A spokesman for platform operator, CNR Limited, claimed back in August that the potential ordnance device was discovered by a remotely operated vehicle (ROV) while carrying out a routine inspection around the platform.
They went on to confirm that they had engaged a specialist company who had “classified the device as safe” and that a “forward plan” was being formulated in order to remove the device from the area.
While the Maritime and Coastguard Agency were warned and the HSE made aware of the situation at the time, it fell to CNR Limited as operator to mitigate any risk liable as a consequence of the device’s location.
Back in August, the device was reported to be “consistent” with a depth charge with potential explosive capability of 130-150kg of TNT.
Despite the possibility of self-detonation of the device being described as “remote”, any uncontrolled explosion could cause significant ground shock with the potential to cause major structural damage to any rigid subsea structures in the vicinity.
The original risk assessment stated that the device did not pose a hazard “unless impacted” but that it was recommended that disposal of the item take place at the “earliest opportunity.”
When built in 1978, the Ninian Central Platform was the world’s largest man-made movable object weighing in at 600,000 tonnes.
Originally operated by Chevron before being transferred to CNR Limited, the platform came online in the same year it was built and transports to the Sullom Voe Terminal on the Shetland Islands via the Ninian Pipeline System.
The Ninian oil field reportedly produced over 11,000 barrels of oil a day in 2013.