§ Mr. McQuarrie
asked the Secretary of State for Energy if he will make a statement on the incident in the North sea, 100 miles north-east of Aberdeen, when the semi-submersible vessel Tharos which was located at the BP Forties field was forced to evacuate 140 persons employed on the vessel.
§ Mr. Buchanan-Smith
During the afternoon of 5 November 1985 the offshore installation MSV Tharos was at anchor alongside BP's Forties Alpha production54W
The records on which the unemployment count is based do not include details of qualifications or previous trades or professions because these are not needed for the purposes of administering benefits. The labour force survey collects information about the qualifications, previous occupation and previous industry of people who are not working and are looking for work, but the sample size is too small to provide estimates at local level.
installation. At 1525hrs, because of deteriorating weather conditions the bridge between Tharos and Forties Alpha was raised and Tharos move away.
The weather was classed as "severe gales" with winds gusting up to 100 knots when one of the eight anchor cables holding the Tharos on station failed. Subsequently other anchors dragged or had to be released to maintain the stability of the Tharos. Its own motive power was used to assist in keeping it on location.
As a precautionary measure all persons, not essential to the task of ensuring the safety of the installation were evacuated, as soon as possible, by helicopter, to nearby installations and to shore. One hundred and forty, persons were evacuated leaving 37 on board.55W
The emergency systems worked as intended and no person was put at extra risk.
The installation is expectation to come into sheltered waters for examination.
The incident is being investigated by my Inspectors.