THE GOVERNMENT is demanding more than £4M compensation for damage and disruption caused when an oil rig under tow struck the Erskine bridge in Glasgow 18 months ago.
Six firms involved in the manufacture and transportation of the £70M, 6,500t rig received demands from the Scottish Office this week. Action against two other companies originally associated with the accident has been dropped.
The incident occurred on 4 August 1996 while the rig was on a barge under tow from a Clydeside shipyard to a Texaco field in the North Sea (NCE 1/8 August 1996).
Instead of clearing the underside of the cable stayed bridge's steel box girder deck by 1.5m as planned, the top of the rig struck the box girder nearly 1.4m higher. The 9mm thick steel skin was punctured, an internal diaphragm severely distorted and the bridge closed to heavy traffic for months.
An SO spokesman said the government's claim included the £2M plus cost of the repairs carried out by Amec plus the £905,000 cost of design and supervision by Flint & Neill. Loss of toll revenue was estimated at £667,000, while the cost of extra road signing and traffic management came to £600,000.
The six companies targeted by the government include the four joint venture partners who built the rig, barge owner Saipem UK, and Hollingworth Murray Technical Services who certified the height of the platform above the water.
Action against Lloyds' Register Offshore Services and Clydeport Operations has been dropped.
The SO has still not published the report into the accident. This was prepared by Scott Wilson Kirkpatrick and submitted over a year ago (NCE 6 March 1997).