Rig fire at Harland and Wolff, 1,000 workers evacuated

Belfast: Around 1,000 workers were evacuated from a rig at Harland and Wolff shipyard in Belfast yesterday afternoon when a fire broke out.

The incident was sparked by welding being done on a semi-submersible rig, Byford Dolphin, which was at the yard for a periodic survey and upgrade.

David McVeigh, general manager of sales and marketing at Haarland and Wolff told Splash that the fire was only small, but appropriate measures were taken including the calling of emergency services. Around 50 firefighters arrived at the scene “within minutes” however the company’s own fire watch had extinguished the fire already. No injuries were reported.

The 1974-built rig is owned by Dolphin Drilling, part of Fred. Olsen Energy.

The incident comes just a week after the yard suffered an outbreak of pneumococcal disease, with four staff infected, according to the Belfast Telegraph.

Grant Rowles

Grant spent nine years at Informa Group based in London, Sydney, Hong Kong and Singapore. He gained strong management experience in publishing, conferences and awards schemes in the shipping and legal areas, working on a number of titles including Lloyd's List. In 2009 Grant joined Seatrade responsible for the commercial development of Seatrade’s Asia products. In 2012, with Sam Chambers, he co-founded Asia Shipping Media.


  1. If this would have happened at a shiprecycling facility on the Indian subcontinent a public outcry and criticism on beaching method would have been the consequence.

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