HC Deb 09 July 1975 vol 895 cc191-2W
Mr. Grimond

asked the Secretary of State for Employment if he has any information about the loss of two divers off the "Celtic Surveyor", near Flotta, Orkney, during the weekend 5th-6th July; and if he will make a statement.

Mr. Booth

I have been informed by the Chairman of the Health and Safety Commission that two divers were drowned off the island of Flotta on Sunday 6th July. At the island a submarine pipeline is being constructed which will connect oil storage tanks on the shore with a mooring tower situated approximately two miles offshore. On 6th July a number of divers were working on valves at the outer end of the pipeline at a depth of about 150 ft. One diver named Walsh was trapped against a valve opening in the end of the pipeline when it was opened and there was an unexpected inrush of water into the pipeline. A second diver named Carson was sucked into the pipeline when he went to the assistance of Walsh. Both men died.

The pipeline was being constructed for the Occidental Oil Company under the supervision of Bechtel Ltd., a firm of consulting engineers. Diving services were being provided by two specialist diving companies. Walsh was employed by GP Marine Ltd. of Bournemouth and Carson was employed by Underwater Securities Ltd. of London.

The accident is being investigated by members of Her Majesty's Factory Inspectorate including a specialist engineer from London HQ of the Health and Safety Executive. Technical assistance is also being given by the Diving Inspector of the Petroleum Production Inspectorate of the Department of Energy.

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