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Offshore News: Boat survivor speaks of tragedy

Posted on 15.04.2007 - 16:37 EDT in OFFSHORE NEWS by ginamc

BBC News A survivor of the Norwegian vessel which capsized off the coast of Shetland has spoken about the accident which killed eight of his colleagues.

Fighting back tears, Egil Hafsas said it took less than five minutes for the Bourbon Dolphin tug to topple.  He said it was difficult to feel the joy of being rescued when he knew there were people who had been unable to get out of the boat.

A memorial service was held on a Shetland beach on Sunday. Mr Hafsas said he could not feel happy about being rescued

Relatives were flown over the site of the capsized ship.  

Mr Hafsas recounted his final moments on board the oil rig supply vessel before it overturned on Thursday.

He said he had been on deck when the ship lurched and suddenly started to list. He ran into the accommodation part of the main deck, grabbed a life vest, and shouted for everyone to leave.   The crewman described how he jumped into the water along with two young trainees.   Moments later the boat rolled over into the sea.

Three people died in the incident and a further five crew members are missing presumed dead.   It is believed their bodies may still be inside the boat.

Among them are 14-year-old David Remøy, who was on work experience, and his father Oddne Arve Remøy, who was the ship's captain.

Survivors of the incident and relatives of those believed dead and missing gathered on one of the island's beaches for the memorial service.

At the end of the service, flowers were laid in the water in a tribute to those who lost their lives.

Trond Myklebust, managing director of the ship's operator Bourbon Offshore, said an attempt would be made to tow the boat ashore later.

"What is important from our side is that this will be done in a safe manner because the most important thing is that we keep the boat afloat so we are able to find the people inside," he said. "It is very important for relatives to have a grave."

Dutch company Smit Salvage are to lead the operation to recover the ship. Relatives threw flowers into the sea at the memorial service

It was on a routine operation at the Transocean Rather drilling rig when it capsized.

Bourbon Offshore released the names of the eight crew members who died or were missing, including 44-year-old Mr Remøy and his son.   The others are Ronny Emblem, 25, Bjarte Grimstad, 37, Søren Kroer, 27, Frank Nygård, 42, Kjetil Rune Våge, 31, and Tor Karl Sandø, 54.   The identities of the three bodies recovered have still to be confirmed and Shetland Coastguard confirmed the search for the remaining crew has been called off.

The police investigation has now been handed over to Norwegian authorities and a Norwegian government commission has been set up to investigate the incident.

Source: BBC News

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