“12 people areevacuated to Njord A with 16 more onthe way,” press spokesperson Morten Ek told Aftenbladet at 10.30, Wednesday.
It is uncertain how long it will take to evacuate all applicablepersonnel from the platform. Statoil has decided only a few people will remainto keep the platform stable.
Norway’s Petroleum Safety Authority (PSA) was in a state of emergencypreparedness on Wednesday morning.
“The PSA takes a very serious view of the incident,and has staffed up its response centre. Its role in an emergency is tosupervise the operator’s management of the incident,” it writes in a statement.
A Sea King helicopter and four of Statoil’s own helicopters were readyearly Wednesday morning to evacuate personnel. The Njord A platform is closeby, and is normally connected to Floatel with a footbridge. This wasdisconnected during the night due to bad weather.
“We’re planning to evacuate, but there’s been slightly bad weatherduring the night. Now we have to see how we can get helicopters to land on theplatform,” Statoil press contact Ola Anders Skauby said to Aftenbladet on Wednesdaymorning.
Stability restored after an hour
It was 03.40 when the accommodation platform sustained damage to aballast tank and took in water.
Sources say it was listing 3-4 degrees. Statoil could not confirm thisfact this morning. The Joint Rescue Coordination Centre (JRCC) southern Norwayat Sola was notified.“Water was let in on the opposite side in order to stabilise theplatform. This took about an hour. Nevertheless, we’ve decided to evacuate theplatform as there’s only one barrier left against further water entry,” stated OlaAnders Skauby.
It is believed an anchor caused damage to the platform’s hull. The 374 onboard were apparently not mustered – i.e. told to put on survival suits and goto the lifeboats.
“As far as I understood we deemed the platform could be righted againquickly,” Mr Skauby said.