Ben Nevis collision highlights hidden safety threat
Commenting on the news that the Ben Nevis offshore supply vessel had collided with a Valaris drilling installation, Mick Lynch, RMT General Secretary said:
“The previous owner of the Maltese-flagged Ben Nevis was caught out by maritime regulators in Aberdeen and Rotterdam for failing to pay seafarers wages, and at poverty rates. Now the new owner has been involved in an incident which reflects a safety culture underpinned by commercial pressures. The Valaris installation was damaged and lives were endangered, as the vessel was knowingly operated in contravention of procedures and good maritime practice.
“Commercial pressure is driving this dangerous behaviour. We have repeatedly called on industry and Government to address the issues around commercial pressure otherwise operators will continue to drive down standards, especially on health and safety, as well as pay, crewing levels and fatigue across the contractor supply chain. Looking at the platform supply vessel network we see consequences such as extended voyages of 2 months or more onboard, poverty pay, and in this case non-compliance with basic safety standards in order to win profitable contracts in the North Sea.
“The industry supply chain principles have to be strengthened, or reputable vessel operators employing domestic crews with proven safety standards and decent pay and conditions will continue to be undermined by this disgraceful race to the bottom. With that we will see the potential seriousness of these incidents increase.”