Wood Group PSN confirms oil workers return to Beatrice platform

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Oil workers are set to return to a North Sea platform which was evacuated after a cargo vessel carrying nuclear waste began drifting towards it.

The Denmark-registered Parida, which was carrying a cargo of radioactive waste from Scrabster to Antwerp, lost engine power after a fire broke out in one of her funnels at about 8pm on Monday.

The crew shut down her engines as they tried to carry out repairs.

A total of 52 workers had to be evacuated from the platform, which is owned by Ithaca Energy.

A Wood Group PSN spokesman confirmed staff have since been mobilised to the platform.

The company is the current operator and duty holder.

She said: “Wood Group PSN can confirm that a team of core personnel has been mobilized to the Beatrice Alpha platform to reinstate essential power and services following a precautionary downmanning late on Tuesday evening (7th October 2014).

“All 52 personnel were evacuated from the installation when a cargo vessel lost power approximately 15 miles away at around 2100 hours on 7 October. Production was shut down and systems depressurised.

“The Beatrice Complex is approximately 30 miles north of the Moray coast.

“Further information will be released as it becomes available.”

Scotland’s Environment Secretary Richard Lochhead said he would be urging the UK Government to carry out an investigation and safety review following the incident.

He is set to contact Baroness Verma, who has responsibility for the UK nuclear regulatory body, to discuss whether a vessel with such a cargo should have set sail when the weather conditions were bad.

He will also call for Westminster to devolve powers over the transportation of nuclear waste on Scottish land and sea to Holyrood.

All 52 people on the platforms were evacuated to RAF Lossiemouth by rescue helicopter 137 from RAF Lossiemouth and coastguard helicopter 102 from Sumburgh.

The radioactive waste is said to have come from Dounreay, in Thurso, and was being delivered from Scrabster to Antwerp, Belgium.

Two emergency tugs were dispatched to assist the Parida.

The Parida, which was en route from Scrabster to Antwerp, had 15 people on board.