The Herald (Scotland): Two deaths on Brent rig were our fault, says Shell: “In April, Shell was given a £900,000 fine, equivalent to about an hour of its global profit, after admitting three health and safety offences.”: November 01 2005
A MAJOR oil company yesterday admitted its corporate failures cost the lives of two men on a North Sea platform two years ago.
The concession by Shell came as a fatal accident inquiry opened into the deaths of Keith Moncrieff, 45, a mechanical technician from Invergowrie, near Dundee, and Sean McCue, 22, a trainee operations technician from Kennoway, in Fife, on the Brent Bravo platform.
The inquiry is seen as the most important for North Sea safety since the investigation into the deaths of 167 people on Piper Alpha in July 1988.
In April, Shell was given a £900,000 fine, equivalent to about an hour of its global profit, after admitting three health and safety offences.
Yesterday, Sheriff Colin Harris granted permission to Stuart Gale, QC for Shell, to make a statement at the outset of the inquiry.
Mr Gale said: "I wish to convey to the families of both Mr Moncrieff and Mr McCue my clients' deepest sympathy to them for the sudden and tragic loss they have suffered.
"That expression of sympathy is made now, as it was at the trial, in the knowledge that certain failures in duty on the part of Shell led to the events which caused the deaths.
"I wish also to emphasise that Shell will not depart from the rationale which led to the decision to plead guilty last year. That involves an acceptance of certain deficiencies at a corporate level."
The men died in the leg of the Brent Bravo platform, 262 miles north-east of Aberdeen, in September 2003.
The inquiry is expected to last about three months and hear evidence from more than 60 witnesses.
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