Workers plan industrial action while FPSO is under tow to Scotland

The 50 unionized workers aboard the decommissioned FPSO Petrojarl Foinaven (IMO 8887595) have safety concerns about their last required labour. The workers are planning to go on strike while the Foinaven is under tow to Hunterston, Scotland. The employees’ union Unite has accused the operator of doing too little to ensure their safety during the voyage.

The workers aboard the Foinaven intend to strike over the terms of their severance pay. Staff involved in the decommissioned platform’s operations will be laid off this month, and the union claims that shoreside employees of the operation have been given a much larger severance package.

Unite said that the operator of Foinaven – Altera – had maintained a ‘wall of silence’ over the safety of the 50 workers, who plan to strike today, Friday August 5th.

Foinaven is currently under tow from the Foinaven oil field west of the Shetland Islands to Hunterston, which is an industrial terminal on the Firth of Clyde. The FPSO is expected to reach the port by early next week.

Unite claimed that Altera had refused to respond to safety concerns raised over the emergency services provisions for the vessel, should it come into distress or if a fire breaks out. The workers will remain onboard while on strike. The 50 taking industrial action include crane operators, electricians, deck crew and production technicians.

Unite noted that there had been a fire incident onboard the Foinaven in April, which required the temporary evacuation of 30 non-essential staff.

Vic Fraser, Unite industrial officer, said that “we remain deeply concerned for the safety of the crew during the tow, which is likely to involve around 50 people, for the Foinaven itself, the towing vessels and the wider environment should anything go wrong”.

Fraser said that Unite had asked Altera if it had been in touch with regulators and other parties involved in the tow – including Maersk, the towing provider – to make sure that all were aware of the implications of the strike.

Foinaven is owned by a Teekay subsidiary and operated by Altera on behalf of field operator BP. The oil major ended the contract for the vessel after suspending production from the Foinaven field in 2021.

Following redelivery, Teekay will be responsible for the FPSO’s recycling, which will be carried out at an approved shipyard in compliance with UK regulations.

1997-built, Bahamas-flagged, 43,279 gt Petrojarl Foinaven is owned by Petrojarl NV care of manager Altera Infrastructure Production AS of Trondheim, Norway. It is entered with Standard Club (Standard Offshore Division) on behalf of Britoil Ltd and with Gard P&I on behalf of Petrojarl 4 DA.