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Men who died in Piper Alpha disaster remembered 30 years on 

Families and friends of oil workers to gather at memorial service in Aberdeen.

The names of 167 men who lost their lives in the Piper Alpha disaster 30 years ago will be read aloud at a memorial service on Friday.

July 6 marks three decades since explosions tore through the oil installation off Aberdeen in the world's worst offshore industry catastrophe.

Families and friends of those who died will join industry representatives for an Act of Remembrance at 7pm next Friday in the Piper Alpha Memorial Garden at Hazlehead Park.

The timing of the event - chosen to best suit the families and to be closer to the actual time of the disaster - coincides with offshore workers changing shift.

The service is being organised by the Reverend Gordon Craig, chaplain to the UK offshore oil and gas industry.

He said: "We may be three decades on from the world's worst offshore disaster but for families, friends, colleagues and survivors, the memories and feelings of loss are no less.

"Our service will enable those to come together with representatives from the city and industry and remember the loved ones who tragically never made it home."

'We may be three decades on from the world's worst offshore disaster but for families, friends, colleagues and survivors, the memories and feelings of loss are no less.'
Reverend Gordon Craig

Lord provost of Aberdeen Barney Crockett, who will lay a wreath, said: "The shocking events of that night 30 years ago are imprinted on the Aberdeen memory forever.

"We will never forget that 167 men died in the Piper Alpha tragedy, which is why it is so important that the City of Aberdeen and industry come together for this Act of Remembrance.

"We want to let those affected, particularly the families, know that we stand shoulder-to-shoulder with them and that our thoughts are with them now and forever."

Industry representatives will read aloud the names of those who died and a lone piper will play a lament, which will be followed by a minute's silence.

The Oil Chapel at the Kirk of St Nicholas Uniting in Aberdeen will open on July 6 between 12pm and 4pm where people can view the original Book of Remembrance and light a candle.

The RMT union paid tribute to the 167 men who died and offered condolences and support to their families.

General secretary Mick Cash also pressed for more efforts to improve the safety of North Sea workers.

He said: "Respecting the memory of the Piper Alpha victims should mean adopting the highest possible standards that put safety before profit.

"Regrettably, however, the business model that has developed in the North Sea, especially since the 2014 downturn, is putting unwelcome pressure on our members.

"Three weeks on and three weeks off shift pattern, a crisis of confidence in the safety of helicopter transport, ineffective regulations and the prospect of North Sea assets repeatedly changing hands before decommissioning by low-paid foreign staff is the industrial reality for today's offshore workers.

"Employers, government, regulators must do more for the safety of offshore workers. The consequences of complacency are unthinkable."

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