Shell has said it is taking “all appropriate precautions” after a handful of Covid-19 cases were detected aboard an accommodation vessel stationed on one of its North Sea fields.
The oil and gas giant confirmed three contractors on board Prosafe’s Safe Zephyrus, which is currently situated next to the Shearwater platform, tested positive for the virus.
The trio have been returned to Aberdeen by helicopter.
A further six workers who have been identified as close contacts are to be evacuated as a precaution.
Shell said it can carry out Covid testing on Shearwater and has the ability to extend isolation more widely if the need arises.
Earlier this year, trade body Oil and Gas UK (OGUK) called in vain for offshore workers to be bumped up the list of those waiting to receive vaccinations following a spike in North Sea cases.
OGUK subsequently said that, based on vaccine rollout at the time, around a third of the North Sea workforce should have received their jab by mid-April
A Shell spokesperson said: “Our priority is the health and wellbeing of our people and contractors, and safe operations across all our activities.
“We are taking all appropriate precautions, in line with our procedures and national protocols related to coronavirus.”
Vessel accommodation owner Prosafe was originally meant to carry out work for Shell at Shearwater, which sits around 140 miles east of Aberdeen in the Central North Sea, last year.
However, the Norwegian firm revealed in September that the contract would no longer go ahead in 2020 and had been delayed until March 2021.
As a result of the postponement, Prosafe received compensation from Shell, which was one of a number of operators that opted to delay non-essential work due to Covid-19.