Work started in Stavanger Harbour in Norway on Tuesday (28 October) to try to right the capsized oil rig Alexander Kielland.
GV Alexander L. Kielland oil rig in Stavanger Harbour, Norway.
GV Rig upturned with legs above water.
GV Men working on rig in preparation for uprighting.
GV men working on air pumps.
GV Animated model of rig showing method of uprighting.
GV PAN Men working on pumps.
GV Workmen disconnecting hose.
GV PAN Men on quayside feeding out airline to upturned rig.
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Background: Work started in Stavanger Harbour in Norway on Tuesday (28 October) to try to right the capsized oil rig Alexander Kielland. The rig overturned in the North Sea last March, and 123 men -- more than half the number on board -- lost their lives.
SYNOPSIS: The rig was towed 300 kilometres (180 miles) to Stavanger soon after the disaster, from the Ekofisk field, between Scotland and Norway. It had overturned when one of its five supporting legs broke off in a storm. A Norwegian Commission of Enquiry is still investigating how this happened, and is expected to complete its report after inspecting the rig when it has been righted.
More than 150 scientists, technicians, divers and welders have been preparing the attempt for several months. The project leader, an American from Texas, said the operation was based on the two-Thousand-year-old Archimedes principle, plus modern space technology and nearly three hundred large balloons filled with air. Air and water will be pumped into the steel structure of the ten-thousand tonne rig to turn it through 180 degrees at a rate of one degree an hour. The job will take three days or more, depending on the weather.
More than fifty men lost in the disaster have never been accounted for. It is believed that some of them many have been trapped in the rig's accommodation quarters, and that their bodies may still be inside. As soon as the rig is righted, Norwegian police will go on board, to see if there are any bodies to be recovered.