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Oil Workers Could Be Left Stranded Offshore As Storm Barbara Hits Flights

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Around 100 oil workers face being stuck offshore over Christmas as Storm Barbara brings gale force winds.

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The offshore workers, who are based on BP platforms to the west of Shetland, may not be able to get home due to projected sea swells more than 20m high.

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The Met Office has issued a yellow warning for wind for the North-east for today Dec 23 and tomorrow, with gusts of up to 70mph expected across the region.

A BP spokeswoman said: “As we often see this time of year, the weather around Shetland is becoming increasingly challenging with current sea swells of over six metres and due to rise to more than 20 metres at the weekend.

“Unfortunately, this means that we will be unable to carry out our usual crew change flights before Christmas.

“While we appreciate this will be extremely disappointing for those impacted, we are committed to putting the safety of our people above all else.”

Grahame Madge, spokesman for the Met Office, said the Highlands would shield the North-east from the full brunt of the storm.

But added: “There will be strong winds and some rain associated with it.

“Fraserburgh and Peterhead are likely to get stronger winds.”

NorthLink Ferries – which travel to Orkney and Shetland – has said it anticipates “severe disruption” and cancellations to scheduled services today Dec 23and tomorrow.
added: “Customers should review their current booking arrangements in line with the information provided.”

Winds are expected to calm down later on Christmas Eve but another area of depression is expected to hit on Christmas day which could see strong winds return with temperature expected to reach a high of 14C (57.2F).

A weather warning for snow and ice was today issued for the North-east.

Covering Aberdeen, Aberdeenshire and Moray, the yellow warning, meaning be aware, is in place overnight and into tomorrow morning.

A Met Office spokesman said: “Aberdeen is within the snow and ice area. Aberdeenshire is also part of this warning.”

The forecaster added:“Wintry showers will affect large parts of Scotland during tonight and into Saturday tomorrow morning. The most frequent snow showers will fall north of the Central Belt the bulk of accumulations will be on ground above 200 metres where 5 to 10cm is possible.

“At lower levels accumulations will be smaller, more variable and most likely in Highland where 1 to 3cm is possible at low levels. Icy stretches will be an additional hazard on untreated surfaces especially where showers fall.”

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