Workers lodge formal complaint over COVID19 concerns on Tom Prosser rig

WORKERS on the Noble Tom Prosser oil rig have lodged a formal complaint to the national regulator today outlining concerns that Noble Corp is not conducting regular coronavirus COVID-19 screening and has put employee safety at risk by flying in foreign workers without self-isolation protocols or testing.
Workers lodge formal complaint over COVID19 concerns on Tom Prosser rig Workers lodge formal complaint over COVID19 concerns on Tom Prosser rig Workers lodge formal complaint over COVID19 concerns on Tom Prosser rig Workers lodge formal complaint over COVID19 concerns on Tom Prosser rig Workers lodge formal complaint over COVID19 concerns on Tom Prosser rig

Paul Hunt

Senior Journalist: Oil & Gas, Policy.

Paul Hunt

 

This morning Energy News obtained a copy of the complaint lodged by the Australian Workers Union and Maritime Union of Australia to the National Offshore Petroleum Safety and Environmental Management Authority (NOPSEMA).

The complaint states that 14 foreign nationals were flown to the Noble Tom Prosser and were not subject to self-isolation or health checks before joining the rest of the crew.

Sources would not say where foreign workers travelling from.

Victoria is the second-hardest hit by coronavirus, after New South Wales. In Australia the majority of cases so far have been those who have returned from overseas or had contact with those returning from overseas, though testing has also primarily focussed on those groups.

Energy News does not know if workers disembarking will be put into 14 days' quarantine.

The workers also allege that Noble Corp did not implement ‘social distancing' or put in place any procedures to ensure large groups of workers did not congregate to minimise the risk of exposure to coronavirus.

According to sources speaking to Energy News 40 workers were "crammed" into daily meetings.

Noble Corp's rig is current conducting a drilling campaign in the Bass Strait for ExxonMobil's West Barracouta gas project offshore Victoria.

The unions are urging the regulator to launch a full-scale investigation into Noble Corp's hygiene protocols.

In the complaint, addressed to the NOPSEMA head of safety and integrity, the union said workers were also concerned around a general lack of hygiene on the facility.

"There are insufficient numbers of utilities on the Noble Tom Prosser to ensure there is a continuous cleaning of common areas with alcohol swabs etc. to minimise the risk of coronavirus exposure," the complain reads.

The rig in question sees a high turnover of fly-in-fly-out workers made up of a majority of foreign workers and casual employees.

The unions said employees were uncomfortable speaking to management of Noble Corp due to a management culture  that "threaten" workers.

Energy News reached out to Noble Corp for right of reply, however the company did not respond.