Workers winched to safety after gas platform is hit by ship

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The Independent Online

RAF Sea King helicopters winched 109 workers from a North Sea gas platform yesterday after a factory fishing ship crashed into one of its legs.

RAF Sea King helicopters winched 109 workers from a North Sea gas platform yesterday after a factory fishing ship crashed into one of its legs.

An air and sea rescue operation was launched after the 28,000-ton Marbella hit the platform, in the Rough gasfield 27 miles off the coast of East Yorkshire, in foggy conditions. Workers were lifted off and taken to a waiting tanker, the Norwegian-registered Navion Europa. The Marbellawas escorted back to the Humber by coastguard lifeboat. No injuries were reported.

A spokeswoman for the US energy company Dynegy Storage, which runs the platform, said: "They are all fine. They are being taken to a local hotel where they will be offered a meal and accommodation if needed. The men are just feeling a little tired and all they want to do is get home to their families."

One of the men lifted off the platform, Bill Dimmick, 43, said: "We heard the impact and the shudder lasted for three to five seconds. The evacuation was carried out very, very well."

At the time of the accident the platform was shut down for maintenance and the company said there had been no gas leaks. The structure was gashed above the waterline but damage has yet to be assessed. The Health and Safety Executive and the Marine Accident Investigation Branch have been informed.

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