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Not exactly ROV related, but came in via the RMT mailing system today.
If you are an ex-diver you may wish to read this and sign the petition (online) mentioned at the bottom.

If you are not an ex-diver you may still show your support for the case by signing the petition.

Also at the bottom of this post: A translation (from Norwegian to English) for text found in the petition


Subject: FW: Norwegian Sector Divers Case
Importance: High

Dear All,

I’m sorry to bother you but I have spoken to Tom this morning and he needs to get as many people as possible to sign this electronic petition. Please sign up for it, personally I think it’s important.

Many thanks for your help.


-----Original Message-----
From: Tom Wingen []
Sent: 20 September 2008 00:48
Subject: Norwegian Sector Divers Case
Importance: High

Yes, this is another of those damned bulk mails I send out all too often.

First let me apologies to those of you who either have not heard from me in a while or have never heard back from me at all.

My excuse is – I’m an old diver not an administrator or a bureaucrat, therefore fallibility is a given. This innate fallibility was compounded by my internet service provider’s lack of attention to the landlines which give this miracle of e-mail and in part by God who in his infinite wisdom sent a series of bolts of lightning down which blew out the sub station and fried all of the wiring in this area.

I am up and running as of today, so if you have any questions please let me know and if you haven’t heard back from me in a reasonable time, re-send and jog this faulty memory.

The main point of interest for all of you is the decision in the case. The press release from the Oslo Court is below.

We are not giving up and are pushing everything up to the higher courts. It is far too early now to bother speculating on what or when this will happen, but I promise that if you will keep pestering me I will let you know as soon as I know.

The second point and one which is extremely important is the electronic petition which is at the bottom of this e-mail. We need you all to sign it as soon as is humanly possible. You need to forward it to everyone you know to sign it pass it on to their friends and acquaintances.

The Norwegian Government needs to know the eyes of the world are on them. It will send a very powerful message they will find difficult to ignore.

I can be reached by;
Telephone: +47 959 444 85
Skype: tomwingen

The Oslo Court has issued the following press release concerning the NSDA’s case against the Government of Norway:

Oslo tingrett / Oslo Courthouse

North Sea Divers claim did not succeed

The lawsuit of 19 ex-divers against the Norwegian government (Ministry of labour and social inclusion) did not succeed. The Court did not find the Government legally responsible, neither objectively nor subjectively, for their health damages.

The complaining divers were employed or contracted by diving companies and oil companies operating on the Norwegian Continental Shelf from 1964 to 2004. The Norwegian government did not employ them. Even so, the complainants claimed that the Government should be economic responsible for their health damages during this period, mainly due to the following reasons;
• The Government did not comply with basic human rights.
• The Government knew, but did not tell, about the risks of deep sea diving.
• The Government acted with negligence, by not making adequate regulations to protect the divers against health damages, and by not keeping satisfactory supervision.
• Even though the Government did not employ the divers directly, the Government was strongly involved in the petroleum sector, as owner of the natural resources, legislator, supervisor, and administrator of licenses and receiver of tax.
• The exploration of oil and gas, and thus the deep sea diving, made the country rich and favored the whole society. The fair solution must be that health damages from diving are compensated by the collective, and not by the divers themselves.

There is no doubt, Oslo District Court acknowledges, that the pioneer divers suffered risks and health injuries due to their diving activities. However, the court cannot find legal grounds to state liability of the Government, neither objectively nor subjectively, and neither with reference to the law itself nor to previous court practice.

Subjective liability
When considering subjective liability, the court emphasizes that neither The Norwegian Labour Inspection Authority nor the Norwegian Petroleum Directorate did put aside any reasonable demands from the divers regarding supervision. Subsequently, the court states that the divers right to life were not offended. Neither were they exposed to inhuman or dishonorable treatment. Thus, the court cannot find any violation of the human right declaration.

Objective liability
Objective liability implies a legal obligation to compensate damages, even though there is not a question of “guilt”, negligence or intention to harm. In this case however, there is not a sufficient connection between the Government and the activities that injured the divers, to state such an objective liability. The role of the authorities as lawmaker, supervisor, administrator of licenses, receiver of tax and owner of the natural resources, do not itself make the Government a wrongdoer, the court underlines.

The court underlines, however, that human considerations indicate that the objective liability could be expanded, in order to fully compensate the long-term injuries of the divers. But such an expansion in the non-legislative area of the objective liability should initially be made by the Supreme Court.

On these grounds, Oslo District Court has not found legal basis to award the plaintiffs compensation.

In response to this judgment, it clearly goes against the Royal Commission chaired by Petter A. Lossius, Judge, Borgarting Court of Appeals.

Specifically the sections:
7.8 Liability issues
7.8.1 Liability for damages under Norwegian law
7.8.2 Liability for damages on the part of the Norwegian State

The full judgment by Oslo Court is in Norwegian and will be translated into English in due course (whenever that is).

For now, the current consensus is that the Oslo Court felt that it was out of its depth on this one and is passing the buck to someone who might be up to actually making a ruling.

The indication is that the judge would have liked to rule in favor of the divers and families, but then would have been required to make a new legal precedent which could affect future rulings on similar pending cases in the court.

There are numerous paradoxes and contradictions, the most obvious one being that the Norwegian Petroleum Directorate and the labor inspection authorities are not found to be culpable for neglecting to follow through in their capacity as controlling body for the industry. In saying this, the judge is basically stating that no government control body need worry about doing a slapdash or sloppy job, because there will be no repercussions. If taken to its extreme this verdict could then save the government several hundreds of millions of kroner, because they could get rid of ALL governmental control bodies - as they serve no practical purpose anyway.

He goes on to say that the power sharing traditions of the Norwegian authorities prevents him from ruling against any misconduct on part of the Parliament - thereby basically granting any politician immunity from prosecution for any idiotic stunt pulled while serving in the Parliament. Another factor here is that by doing this the judge effectively ignores the fact that this is a case brought forward on the basis of the European Human Rights Convention, and that in itself precludes the case from the usual constraints of Norwegian Legislation as the convention since being signed by Norway in 1963 has had precedence over domestic Norwegian legislation.

The long and short of it all is that the verdict, in the way it is written, is designed for us to succeed when bringing the case to a higher court.

If you, like me are having difficulty in following the convoluted language and implications of this bureaucratic double speak I would refer you to an old but very good British documentary series which covered quite well this subject. It was called “Yes Minister”. The following are a couple of clips which will hopefully help you understand;

Yes Minister: Government Policy Policy

Yes Minister: A Public Inquiry


This petition has been put up by Dagbladet, arguably Norway’s largest and most respected newspaper.

The petition can be found at:

It’s in Norwegian but the translation to English is below.

It is very important that everyone digitally signs the petition and that everyone passes it on to any and everyone they know to sign it. The Norwegian Government needs to know that this case is in the eye of the world, not just something they can sweep under the carpet in Norway.

Thanks for your help.

Translation for text found in the on-line petition can be found below.


Tom Wingen

Translation for text found in the on-line petition.

Støtt Nordsjødykkernes krav om rettferdighet og anerkjennelse
Support the North Sea Divers Claim for justice and recognition
Til: Stortinget - To: Parliament

Dykkernes innsats resulterte i ødelagt helse og økonomi,og døden for noen.
The divers did work that ruined their health, their personal finances and for some the outcome was their loss of life.

Men de tilførte Norge enorm rikdom. Uten dykkerne, intet oljeeventyr.
However, their work gave Norway enormous wealth. Without the divers there would be no oil wealth.

Registrert av: This page was set up by:
Marie Svarstad [18:45 16.09 2008]

Signer oppropet! Sign the petition!
Ditt navn: [name] Your Name
Bosted: [place] Place of residence
Epostadresse: [email] E-Mail Address

Ja, jeg tillater at oppretter av oppropet kan holde meg oppdatert i denne saken via epost.
Yes, I agree to be kept updated about the development in this case via e-mail.

Skriv inn koden til venstre:
Type in the code in the window to your left
Signer opprop Button
Click on the button to sign the petition

Din epostadresse brukes for å kontrollere at du ikke sender inn to ganger. Epost-adressen blir lagt ut på nett i en sensurert versjon.
The e-mail address is used as a control device to ensure that you do not register twice.
The e-mail address will be displayed in a way that protects your privacy.
James Mc
Site Admin

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