North Sea companies fined for rig explosion
James Cusick is political correspondent of The Independent and The Independent on Sunday. As an experienced member of the lobby, he has previously worked at The Sunday Times and the BBC. His career as a journalist has been split between print and television, including senior positions as producer with Sir David Frost and at BBC Newsnight. He is also an award-winning golf and travel writer, working for over a decade as the UK contributing editor for one of the USA’s leading golf magazines. He broadcasts regularly for the BBC and CNN. He lives in London.
Wednesday 11 August 1993
The pounds 250,000 fine against Arco, the drilling firm operating the Ocean Odyssey rig, is the highest imposed on an oil firm since North Sea production began 30 years ago.
The case at Aberdeen High Court made Scottish legal history. It is the first time any oil company has been indicted in a Scottish High Court over an offshore accident. The owner of the Ocean Odyssey rig, Odeco, was fined pounds 25,000. Both companies pleaded guilty to safety charges.
In September 1988, the rig blew up and was engulfed in flames killing a radio operator, Timothy Williams, on his first trip offshore. There were 66 survivors.
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