Stena Drilling launches petition for UK quarantine exemption
Aberdeen-based offshore drilling contractor Stena Drilling has launched a petition urging the UK Government to give oil workers returning from overseas full quarantine exemption.
Stena Drilling said that forcing workers to quarantine after extended periods away from home could be “extremely detrimental” to their mental health and wellbeing.
One of the company’s rig managers Nick Anders set up the petition last week. The petition, so far, has gathered 16,235 signatures as of 9:30 AM on Monday, 22 February.
It is worth noting that the UK Government responds to all petitions that get more than 10,000 signatures. Stena Drilling hopes to reach 100,000 signatures, at which point it will be considered for debate in parliament.
Current UK Government restrictions state that people arriving from any of 33 red-list countries must isolate in an approved hotel for 10 days unless they have an exemption.
In Scotland, those arriving from any country outside the common travel area of the UK, Ireland, the Isle of Man, and the Channel Islands must quarantine in a hotel.
In a statement on social media channels, Stena said: “The requirement to quarantine before travelling to work has already resulted in our crews having to spend longer away from their families than their normal work routine requires.
“Extending this to include additional quarantine on return in such a safety-critical industry is unacceptable. The processes put in place by Stena Drilling, and our clients with regard preventing the transmission of Covid-19 are the most stringent in the offshore industry”.
The company added that it developed its own “gold standard” quarantine protocols for UK residents working on its drillships offshore Guyana and Suriname, both of which are red-listed.
Stena Drilling’s procedures include crew isolation in a London hotel where they receive daily temperature checks and routine PCR testing. They are then taken by bus to the airport where they board a charter flight with no interaction with any other travellers. Once in Guyana, crew members are flown aboard helicopters straight to the drilling vessel. The company claims it ensures the same level of security during the return journey.
“This system works. Since its implementation, over 2,000 personnel have been mobilised internationally and returned to their homes without a single case of Covid-19”, Stena said.