Alarm over rat-infested ONGC offshore platforms

Vol 23, PW 5 (16 Jan 20) People & Policy

Rats, power cuts and gas leaks at offshore platforms over the past 12 months are just some of the alarming safety concerns raised by ONGC unions in a damning letter to senior management.

This report learns PN Pathak, Mumbai president of the Association of Scientific & Technical Officers (ASTO), delivered a scathing eight-page report to ONGC chairman Shashi Shanker on December 24 (2019) following a visit to several ONGC offshore installations with graphic details of their poor condition. "We visited offshore installations and talked with officers manning these before preparing this report," Pathak tells this report.

In his letter Pathak draws Shanker’s attention to an October 6 (2019) incident at the SHP platform where a "total blackout" was accompanied by a complete communication lapse. "It was a major shutdown," says Pathak in his letter.

"One can understand the gravity of the incident from the fact that the director (offshore) along with other senior officers had to stay at the SHP platform for three days to restore normality." Similarly on November 29 a major gas leak took place at the same platform.

"Though the leak was controlled successfully by our crew members," writes Pathak, "it created (an) evacuation like situation which has far reaching implications on the psychology of the crew on board." Pathak also paints a dire picture of the NQO platform.

"Rats are present everywhere," he said. "They damage the lines and (this) results in shutdowns."