An oil and gas company has set up a petition to urge the government to allow offshore workers to be exempt from quarantine when returning from working abroad.
Stena Drilling, based in Aberdeen, set up the UK Government petition calling for workers to self-isolate at home with their families for the sake of their mental health instead of a mandatory ten day hotel quarantine.
The company argues that it has “the strictest Covid protocols in the industry” and that employees pose “the least amount of risk” to public health than other travellers when returning to the UK.
Stena Drilling have also approached MPs, MSPs and Ministers for support in the issue and are working with industry bodies to make their case.
The petition has reached more than 10,000 signatures in the past 24 hours, meaning the company is entitled to a response from the UK Government.
Erik Ronsberg, CEO Stena Drilling Ltd, said. “We set up a UK Government and Parliament Petition to highlight the concerns we have for both our colleagues working offshore, and others in similar circumstances facing the new quarantine requirements in the UK on return from abroad.
“We have three vessels working off the coast of countries on the UK’s Red-List. Our offshore crews already quarantine for up to two weeks prior to joining their vessel to minimise any chance of passing on the virus.
“Dedicated and sterilised aircraft and helicopters are used to ensure no contact with non-quarantined persons, so our crews are actually spending no more than a matter of minutes on foreign soil prior to either joining the vessel working hundreds of miles off the coastline, or coming home.
“Thus their whole time working away from home is essentially spent in quarantine. An additional ten days isolated on return to the UK for quarantine is both unnecessary and righty so, we’re worried for their mental health being apart from their loved ones for so long.
“I am delighted to see that the interest in our petition has been well received and looks like it will achieve the 10,000 signatures required for a government response within 24 hours of setting it up.”
A Department of Health and Social Care spokesperson said: “We recognise the impacts restrictions have on many people and are grateful for the public’s continued efforts to comply with the rules and help us tackle this global pandemic.
“Coupled with our enhanced testing regime, the new border controls we have introduced are necessary to provide a further level of protection against Covid-19 variants. There are limited exemptions to our managed quarantine, which are set out on gov.uk.”