Five bodies still missing as salvage operation begins on capsized tug

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The Independent Online

Salvage operations will begin today on the tugboat that capsized in the North Sea, killing eight people including a teenage boy on work experience.

Salvage crews will try to detach the tug from a chain linking it to a nearby oil rig some 75 nautical miles north-west of Shetland before towing it back to the coast. The Norwegian anchor-handling tug Bourbon-Dolphin was on a routine operation on Thursday serving the rig Transocean Rather. It is thought the anchor chain may have suddenly tightened, rapidly pulling the vessel over as it rode up the hull.

Shetland's Coastguard rescued seven of the 15-man crew. They also recovered three bodies but five more, including Oddne Remoy, the captain, and his 14-year-old son, David, remained unaccounted for. A perilous dive on the partly-submerged vessel by the Royal Navy yielded no results.

An investigation by the Norwegian Maritime Directorate, the equivalent of the UK's Marine Accident Investigation Branch, is expected to take months.

Jake Malloy, general secretary of the Offshore Industry Liaison Committee union which looks after the safety of sea-workers, said he would be shocked if a deficiency was found in the tug, because it was less than a year old. "It is so bemusing this has happened and nobody could have envisaged it," he said. "Something catastrophic has happened and we don't know what.

"The crew on the rig saw the vessel make a sharp turn. They got the impression the anchor wire had jumped its stops."