Official investigation underway following drill rig death

TWO men were killed on the Stena Clyde offshore drilling rig in Victoria’s Otway Basin on August 27. The vessel, operated by Stena Offshore of Scotland, was commissioned by Origin Energy for drilling of the Geographe 2 development well, directly offshore from Warrnambool in shallow waters of about 90m.
At the time of writing Origin had not released a formal statement; however media reported that the two un-named men – a 32-year-old from the Northern Territory and a 60-year-old from
Scotland –died when heavy machinery they were operating failed, and a part dislodged and hit them. While the details of the incident have not yet been confirmed, it was reported that the rig
was evacuated and returned to land.
“All onboard operations have been suspended and the well has been secured in line with established safety and emergency response procedures,” an Origin spokesperson said.
“Emergency services were immediately contacted and are on site assessing the situation.
“There are no environmental issues as a result of the incident and existing Otway production is not impacted.”
An investigation into the incident is underway by Stena Offshore officials, along with representatives from Origin and the National Offshore Petroleum Safety Environmental Management
Authority.
The Australian Workers Union state secretary Cesar Melhem told the Herald Sun newspaper that the union would conduct its own investigation into the incident.
“This industry is inherently dangerous and that’s why we have always demanded that the highest possible safety standards are adhered to at all times,” Mr Melhem said. “Unfortunately, two workers won’t go home to their families.”
Origin reported that it had intended for the Stena Clyde to drill the Geographe 3 well prior to being released for work with Oil Search in Papua New Guinea in early 2013; there is now uncertainty as to when the rig will recommence work as official investigations and repairs will need to be completed before it can resume operations.
The Stena Clyde was built in Finland in 1976 and has been contracted to Origin since March.

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