HC Deb 25 July 1988 vol 138 cc86-7W
13. Mr. Dalyell

To ask the Secretary of State for Energy if he will make a statement about the outcome of interviews with relatives of deceased crew members of Piper Alpha about alleged gas leaks reported in the period before the explosion.

Mr. Peter Morrison

The technical investigation team has already begun to interview relatives of deceased crew members. The investigation team is anxious to hear from anyone who has any information about events surrounding the explosion.

35. Mr. Martlew

To ask the Secretary of State for Energy if he will make a statement regarding progress in the inquiry taking place into the accident that took place on the Piper Alpha oil platform.

Mr. Peter Morrison

I refer the hon. Member to the answer given to the hon. and learned Member for Fife, North-East (Mr. Campbell) on 14 July 1988, at columns365–66. The public inquiry, under the chairmanship of the hon. Lord Cullen, will take place as soon as practicable.

40. Mr. Wray

To ask the Secretary of State for Energy if he will make a statement on the results of the search for missing bodies of victims of the Piper Alpha disaster in the North sea.

Mr. Peter Morrison

Following the accident, Her Majesty's Coastguard conducted an intensive search and rescue operation until nightfall on 8 July. Sixty seven survivors were airlifted to safety. After 8 July Occidental assumed responsibility for search operations and it has informed me that 43 bodies have now been recovered. The company is continuing to give the highest priority to recovering the remaining bodies, but the work has been made more difficult by the extent of the damage to the platform and the need not to put further lives at risk.

Mr. Prescott

To ask the Secretary of State for Energy when his Department received the report of the 1984 explosion on the Piper Alpha installation; what are the reasons for not making the report publicly available; and whether any of its recommendations were made available to employers and employees in the North sea offshore industry.

Mr. Peter Morrison

My right hon. Friend has undertaken to give the 1984 report to the public inquiry. When my right hon. Friend met the offshore unions they asked for the report to be made public as early as possible. My right hon. Friend undertook to inform Lord Cullen of the unions' views, and has now done this. It is for Lord Cullen to decide whether or when to make evidence available but my right hon. Friend has indicated to him that he has no objection to the report being made public.

As is normal in these circumstances the 1984 report was not published. However my inspector was satisfied that following the accident, Occidental took the appropriate action.