Scots in Support Ship Tragedy Were Killed by Poisonous Gas; Tragedy at Sea: Gas Rig Support Vessel the Viking Islay

Article excerpt

Byline: Jonathan Brocklebank

THREE men who died on a North Sea rig supply ship are thought to havebeen overcome by poisonous gas.

Scots Finlay MacFadyen and Robert OBrien, and Robert Ebertowski from Poland,were found unconscious in the Viking Islay after an operation to secure ananchor went tragically wrong.

At lunchtime on Sunday, they were airlifted from the vessel, which wasoperating in the BP Amethyst gas field about 25 miles off the East Yorkshirecoast, to Hull Royal Infirmary.

A Marine Accident Investigation Branch (MAIB) probe into the tragedy has beenlaunched and the results of post-mortem examinations are expected later in theweek.

Although the vessels owners could not comment on the cause of the tragedy,police sources believe the men were killed by an escape of carbon monoxide.

Coxswain Mr OBrien, 59, was married and lived in Leven, Fife, while fellowcoxswain Mr MacFadyen, 46, was from Dyce in Aberdeen. Yesterday both theirfamilies were too distressed to talk about the accident.

Boatman Robert Ebertowski, 40, was from Gydnia, Poland.

The men were trying to secure an anchor chain in the bow of the vessel whenthey are believed to have been overcome by fumes.

The remaining nine crew members on the Viking Islay were all safe and accountedfor.

After the victims were airlifted to hospital by an RAF Sea King helicopter, theship returned to port at Immingham, Lincolnshire. …