LONDON, Sept 29 (Reuters) – Royal Dutch Shell said on Monday it is evacuating non-essential staff from a North Sea oil platform after a container unit fell from a crane into the sea but caused no injuries.
The oil company said mechanical failure affected the crane on Sunday evening at its Brent Alpha platform, located some 115 miles northeast of Lerwick in the Shetland Islands.
There was no impact on North Sea oil production as maintenance work to decommission the platform is ongoing.
“As a precaution the Brent Alpha and Bravo, which were already shut down as part of ongoing maintenance works, were depressurised,” Shell said in a statement.
An effort was underway to recover the container, which remains attached by rope and is currently around 20 feet below the sea surface, Shell said.
“An effort to recover the container and transfer it to a vessel is currently being planned. A support vessel is currently travelling to the Brent field,” the company added.
“A temporary, non-emergency evacuation of non-essential personnel will take place on Monday.”
The Brent oil field, discovered in 1971, was one of the largest oil fields in Britain’s North Sea, exploited via four platforms.
Shell is in the process of decommissioning Brent Alpha and plugging and abandoning work has already started, according to Shell’s website.