Coronavirus quarantine rules are throwing hundreds of Aberdeen oil and gas jobs into “jeopardy”, an industry boss has warned.
North-east based firm Stena Drilling has said the current guidelines, which force oil riggers into quarantine hotels for 24 days, are “extremely detrimental” to the industry.
The company, which is petitioning Westminster for a change in the law, said workers were being “treated like tourists and not essential workers”.
Currently, Stena Drilling’s riggers are required to isolate for 14 days in a hotel prior to flying out to drillships in Guyana and Suriname.
As both the South American nations are on the UK Government’s Covid “red-list”, returning workers are again required to isolate for 10 days in an approved hotel.
Bosses say the 10 day isolation upon return is “unacceptable”, pointing to the fact there has not been a single case of Covid-19 offshore.
In a letter to business minister Anne-Marie Trevelyan, Stena Drilling’s HR boss Trish Craig said: “Crew travel to London and isolate in a company run facility for 14 days. We have medics to conduct temperature checks daily and PCR test on day eight and day 12.
“We also have Health and Safety professionals present to police the facility to ensure all employees are following the protocols.
“When all are cleared to travel, they are bussed (no more than 14 people per bus) to the airport where they board a charter flight with no interaction with any other travellers.
“On arrival in Guyana the crew are helicoptered straight to the rig which we know is Covid free.
“The return journey has the same level of Covid security as the crew are in their bubble, coming straight from the rig and on to a clean charter flight back to the UK.”
She added: “If our crew have to isolate for a further 10 days when returning to the UK, they will have been away for 10 weeks and will only have two weeks at home with family to rest.
“Having only two weeks at home in such a safety critical industry will be unacceptable and will force us to close the operation down which will put hundreds of jobs in jeopardy.”
A UK Government spokesperson said: “We have taken action to protect the UK from the arrival of new and potentially harmful variants of the virus and have banned travel from 33 countries, including Suriname, where known variants of concern are circulating.
“We recognise the inconvenience that imposing travel bans has on individuals on a personal level as well as economic impacts on businesses, but these new measures are necessary to protect public health, control the virus, and save lives.”