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Oil rig tragedy ends with dismissal

Deputy Director of Arktikmorneftegazrazvedka, owner of the Kolskya jack-up rig that overturned and sank during towing last December, has been fired after the prosecutors have found that several mistakes were made during the towing operation.

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The deputy head of the company’s security department has also received an admonition. Both men deny to have had anything to do with the accident.

The Kolskaya drilling rig with 67 people aboard was being towed in a severe storm when it overturned and sank some 200 km off the Sakhalin Island in December 2011. The waves were 5-6 meters high and the water temperature around 1°C.

53 people died in the accident, making it the largest in the history of the Russian oil and gas sector. 14 people were rescued. At least 32 of the crew of 67 came from the Murmansk region.

Deputy Director for Arktikmorneftegazrazvedka’s (AMNGR) fleet Vasily Vasetsky was appointed to coordinate and supervise the towing operation from Murmansk. But Vasetsky was out of the country until the catastrophe was a fact. He is now removed from his post, Izvestia writes.

According to the prosecutors, the people at AMNGR’s head office in Murmansk left the office at the end of the working-day, leaving nobody to supervise the towing operation. Vasetsky denies having any responsibility for the outcome of the accident and says he is ready to prove his innocence.