An official report into the Alexander Kielland disaster today...


OSLO, Norway -- An official report into the Alexander Kielland disaster today criticized the design of North Sea hotel platform which collapsed and capsized, killing 123 oil workers in March 1980.

The three-man official commission of enquiry also said safety training procedures were 'sub-standard' in its 350-page report.


'Poor design, lack of stability and inadequate security precautions all contributed to the disaster,' the report said.

'Safety training was sub-standard, and a rescue vessel, which was to assist, took twice the time it was supposed to,' it said.

The commission said the 10,000-ton platform used to accomodate workers in the North Sea's Ekofisk oil field capsized after being buffeted by 20 to 25 foot waves March 27, 1980.

The heavy seas and near hurricane-force winds tore off one of the five 'elephant legs' after metal fatigue caused a fracture in a transverse stay, the report said.

As soon as the rig began listing, water leaked in and caused it to turn over within 20 minutes 'trapping dozens of workers watching a movie on board,' it said.

The commission, chaired by Magistrate Thor Naesheim, noted severe design faults.

'Initial stability calculations did not even consider the possibility that the rig might lose one of its five legs,' the report said.


It said the initial cause of the disaster was a hole which had been cut on one of the transverse stays to install some equipment.

Clumsy welding with poor material led to cracks which later caused the fracture in the stay, it said.

The Keilland was towed to the Norwegian oil capital of Stavanger shortly after the disaster and has since been anchored outside the harbor with its four remaining legs sticking up from the water.

Most of the bodies of the victims were picked up within hours of the accident, but 36 Norwegian and British victims are still missing, believed to be inside the rusting wreck.

Efforts to turn the rig upright have so far failed and a group of relatives of the missing oil workers have formed an organization to pressure the Labor government to have the rig turned upright.

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