Service to mark 30 years since Piper Alpha disaster

6 July 2018, 05:40

Piper Alpha

A service to remember the 167 men who lost their lives in the Piper Alpha disaster 30 years ago is to take place.

Family and friends of the victims of the world's worst offshore tragedy will be joined by some of the 61 survivors who managed to flee the burning platform on July 6 1988.

An Act of Remembrance will take place at 7pm on Friday in Aberdeen's Hazlehead Park, home to the Piper Alpha Memorial Garden.

The service has been organised by the Reverend Gordon Craig, chaplain to the UK offshore oil and gas industry.

He said: "So many lives were affected on that terrible night and it is right and proper that we take a little time to recognise this. In doing so, my prayer is we provide a little crumb of comfort to those affected most.

"I think it is vital that the industry takes time to remember too. The deaths of those men led to massive improvements in the way safety was managed in North Sea industry. It became an infinitely safer place than it was in 1988 but it will only remain so if we all play our part.

"Remembering the cost when things go horribly wrong can only encourage us all to work safely."

Industry representatives will read aloud the names of those who died and a lone piper will play a lament, which will be followed by a minute's silence.

Former offshore professional Geoff Bollands, who was working in the Piper Alpha control room on the night of the tragedy and was rescued by boat, will attend the memorial.

The 70-year-old, from Middlesbrough, will travel to Aberdeen with his son to pay his respects to lost colleagues and friends.

The service will be streamed live via the UK Oil and Gas Chaplaincy Facebook page for those who cannot attend.

The Oil Chapel at the Kirk of St Nicholas Uniting in Aberdeen will open on Friday between 12 and 4pm where people can view the original Book of Remembrance and light a candle.