UK union slams driller for sending rigs to scrapyards in India and Bangladesh

Image: RMT (For illustration)

British trade union RMT has raised concerns over the North Sea decommissioning industry, following the cash sale of three semi-submersible drilling rigs to be scrapped in India and Bangladesh. 

According to the union’s statement on Monday, three rigs owned by Diamond Offshore were sold to GMS, a company that transports offshore oil and gas infrastructure to be scrapped in India and Bangladesh.

‎The three rigs predominantly worked in the UK North Sea, have a combined age of 119 years and are currently cold stacked in the Cromarty Firth. They have a combined weight of over 30,000 in gross tonnage, the union said.

The union claims that there is existing capacity in Scotland to carry out this decommissioning, recycling and scrapping work.

Diamond Offshore’s latest fleet status report published in October 2017 shows that the three rigs the company had for sale in the UK are Ocean Nomad, Ocean Princess, and Ocean Vanguard.


“Kick in the teeth”


Commenting on the sale of three rigs, Mick Cash, RMT General Secretary, said: “This is a kick in the teeth for offshore workers here, not to mention a continuation of the disgraceful practice of dumping ships and oil and gas infrastructure on South Asian beaches, where workers are regularly killed and injured in highly dangerous and poorly protected conditions.

“160,000 jobs have gone from installations and the offshore oil and gas supply chain since 2014, yet the Government has failed to establish the growing decommissioning industry on terms that increase jobs and deepen the UK skills base.

“This Government seems incapable of getting a fair deal from the oil and gas industry and it must immediately commit to regulating the decommissioning sector in the interests of UK workers and the economy.”

RMT National Secretary, Steve Todd, said: “Alongside the news that Stena Drilling is planning to cut yet more jobs in the North Sea, this decommissioning scandal highlights the Tory Government’s complete dereliction of its duty to provide jobs and a sustainable future for UK offshore workers.

“The fact that they seem prepared to allow the decommissioning sector to adopt the shipping industry’s unethical exploitation of poor coastal communities in India, Pakistan and Bangladesh when disposing of retired vessels speaks volumes.

“These rigs are in the Cromarty Firth and could quite easily be dismantled and recycled at local facilities in Scotland,” he concluded.

Offshore Energy Today has reached out to Diamond Offshore for a comment regarding the sale of these rigs. Should there be any response from the driller, the article will be updated. 

Last year the scrapping of another offshore unit was in the spotlight due to radioactive materials found on the vessel while it was being scrapped in Bangladesh. The FPSO vessel named North Sea Producer was previously owned by Maersk.

Offshore Energy Today Staff