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Carmichael highlights offshore worker concerns

Northern Isles MP Alistair Carmichael.

Concerns have been raised around the safety and security of offshore workers, following reports that some staff have had their time at sea extended as a result of the ongoing impacts of coronavirus combined with financial difficulties within the oil and gas industry.

Speaking in the House of Commons, Northern Isles MP Carmichael raised questions following constituent correspondence on the issue.

Directing his comments to the Minister of State for Scotland, Douglas Ross MP, he said: “Could I ask the Minister to speak with some urgency to Oil and Gas UK about the situation facing offshore workers at present.

“In the last week or so I have received representations from my constituents who are offshore and have had their crew change extended so they have had to work extra weeks, and from some who are concerned that going offshore may take them into an environment where they are not properly protected.

“Can he assure us that offshore workers may be out of sight but they will not be out of mind?”

Responding for the Government, Mr Ross said: “I absolutely agree with the Right Honourable Gentleman that they may be out of sight but they are not out of mind, from the Rt Hon Gentleman and from the Secretary of State and myself as well.

“This issue has been raised with me by others, and last week I did discuss this and other matters with Oil and Gas UK and we have a call going on this week to discuss this further so I will reference the remarks made by the Rt Hon Gentleman and perhaps get back to him after that discussion.”

After the exchange, Mr Carmichael said: “Offshore workers are facing enormous uncertainty right now between the coronavirus and financial challenges for the oil and gas industry. Workers and their families need all the assurance we can give them that they will be safe and secure regardless of the situation offshore in the coming weeks and months.

“I am glad that the Minister is continuing discussions on these issues and I will be following these matters up to ensure that these concerns are answered.”

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