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Minute’s silence held for Piper Alpha victims

The 167 men who died in the world’s worst offshore disaster were remembered at a service in Aberdeen.

A minute’s silence has been held in memory of the 167 men who lost their lives in the Piper Alpha disaster 30 years ago.

Hundreds of people attended a service in Aberdeen on the anniversary of the world’s worst offshore disaster on July 6 1988.

Loved ones and colleagues of those who died listened as each worker’s name was read aloud at the Piper Alpha memorial statue in Hazlehead Park.

A piper played a lament and prayers were said before wreaths were laid by Aberdeen Lord Provost Barney Crockett and Oil and Gas UK chief executive Deirdre Michie.

Wreaths were also placed at the statue by Baroness Goldie, representing the UK Government, and Scotland’s Energy Minister Paul Wheelhouse.

Members of the public then queued to lay flowers they had brought, many of them wiping away tears.

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A fire burns on the Piper Alpha following an explosion that killed 167 men in 1988 (PA)

Reverend Gordon Craig, chaplain to the UK offshore oil and gas industry, told those gathered: “Thirty years ago tonight, 167 men died in the worst disaster to befall the oil and gas industry.

“It was a night that changed many, many things. For the families at the heart of the tragedy, life would never be the same, as they were forced to cope without loved ones and the hole that was left in their lives.

“So many families living in the city knew others – friends, neighbours, colleagues – who were directly caught up in the events of July 6 1988.

“To this day, many can tell you how they watched the fleet of helicopters shuttling to the hospital, and of course the staff of the hospital, who dealt with the aftermath of it all.”

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Crowds gather in Aberdeen’s Hazlehead Park for a service to remember the 167 men who lost their lives in the Piper Alpha disaster 30 years ago (Michal Wachucik/PA)

The Piper Alpha platform was set ablaze after a series of explosions, the result of gas from a leaking pump igniting.

A public inquiry held in the wake of the Piper Alpha tragedy, chaired by Lord Cullen, produced 106 recommendations for the oil and gas industry. All of them were accepted and
the findings led to the health and safety regime the sector has today.

Mr Wheelhouse said following the memorial: “It was a very moving service.

“We have to remember that those 167 individuals gave their lives to produce the energy we take for granted.

“The industry needs to remember what happened and make sure it never happens again.”

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