Offshore platform damaged by ship must be checked for gas leakage, says S'wak rep

The Baram B petroleum production platform in the South China Sea offshore Miri damaged during a ship incident. Pic by Malaysian Maritime Enforcement Agency

MIRI: Extensive checks should be carried out to make sure there is no gas leakage on the offshore petroleum platform that was damaged in Tuesday's (Oct 27) incident when a maintenance ship, the Dayang Topaz, hit it in rough weather, says a Sarawak politician.

State deputy speaker and Mulu state assemblyman Datuk Gerawat Gala said while it was good to hear that no oil spills had been detected so far, checks must be carried out to detect if there were any gas leaks.

Gala, who has extensive expertise in the oil and gas industry, said on Wednesday (Oct 28) that any major structural damage to an offshore production facility would require urgent remedial measures.

"It's a very unfortunate incident that has resulted in the loss of lives, but it was caused by exceptionally bad weather conditions in the South China Sea.

"We (state authorities) extend our condolence to the families of the (two) deceased.

"We are grateful to all those who managed to rescue the other crew members of the ship (185 survivors).

"The rescue mission was carried out in very dangerous weather conditions.

"The most urgent task now is to make sure there is no leakage that can cause oil or gas emission from the damaged platform," he said.

Gala said it was heartening to hear (from the Malaysian Maritime Enforcement Agency) that no oil spill had been detected but checks for possible gas leaks must be carried out.

"Carry out comprehensive checks on the structural integrity of the entire damaged platform without delay," he said.

The Petronas Baram B petroleum production platform located 7.7 nautical miles offshore Miri was damaged when the Dayang Topaz, a maintenance ship, rammed into it.

Two ship crew members died, one was injured and 184 rescued in the 7am incident.

The ship was anchored to the platform but the anchor cable snapped after the ship was battered by huge waves. The ship then rammed into the platform, and many of those on board jumped into the sea after waves overwhelmed the vessel.

The maritime authorities and passing vessels rescued the survivors over the next six hours.

The survivors have been brought ashore to Miri city for checks.

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