Memorial service to pay homage to 167 Piper Alpha victims

6 July 2018 (Last Updated July 6th, 2018 12:26)

A memorial service will be organised today in Aberdeen to mark the 30th anniversary of Piper Alpha disaster, one of the most lethal offshore disasters in history that killed 167 people.

A memorial service will be organised today in Aberdeen to mark the 30th anniversary of Piper Alpha disaster, one of the most lethal offshore accidents in history that killed 167 people.

The act of remembrance will take place at 7pm in the Piper Alpha Memorial Garden at Hazlehead Park. It will be attended by families, friends, and representatives from oil and gas industry.

Wreaths will be laid by the Lord Provost Barney Crockett on behalf of the City of Aberdeen, Oil & Gas UK Chief Executive Deirdre Michie on behalf of the industry, along with Steve Rae, one of the trustees from the Pound for Piper Trust, which provides funding to help the city council maintain the North Sea Memorial Garden.

Crockett said: “We will never forget that 167 men died in the Piper Alpha tragedy, which is why it is so important that the City of Aberdeen and industry come together for this Act of Remembrance.

“We want to let those affected, particularly the families, know that we stand shoulder-to-shoulder with them and that our thoughts are with them now and forever.”

Rev Gordon Craig, chaplain to the UK offshore oil and gas industry, will lead the service.

“We may be three decades on from the world’s worst offshore disaster but for families, friends, colleagues, and survivors, the memories and feelings of loss are no less.”

Craig said: “We may be three decades on from the world’s worst offshore disaster but for families, friends, colleagues, and survivors, the memories and feelings of loss are no less.

“Our service will enable those to come together with representatives from the city and industry and remember the loved ones who tragically never made it home.”

The memorial service will be streamed live on the UK Oil and Gas Chaplaincy Facebook page.

An oil production platform located in the North Sea about 190km north-east of Aberdeen, Piper Alpha was operated by Occidental Petroleum (Caledonia).

It started production in 1976 as an oil production platform and later it was converted to add gas production. The cause of the accident, which happened on 6 July 1988, was primarily attributed to the lack of communication.

The night crew, not aware that the condensate pipe was temporarily sealed with no safety valve during the ongoing maintenance work, switched on the alternate pump causing gas leakages.

It was followed by a series of explosions thwarting all the firewalls designed to prevent fire mishaps.

The overall disaster resulted in the total insured loss of £1.7bn. 61 workers were able to survive the incident.