I quit life on land to live on platform in middle of the ocean – battling brutal elements is tough but I love it | The Sun

A WORKER based on an oil rig in the middle of a raging sea has told of what life is really like away from friends and family.

Paul Watt is based at Shearwater, a rig sat in around 90m of seawater 140 miles east of Aberdeen.

Paul, an operations technicians, said his commute to work was a little different to most.

He said he did not sit in a queue of cars but travelled on a helicopter out into the vast expanse of the North Sea, where he stays for three weeks at a time.

He works a gruelling schedule of 12 hour shifts on board the rig. The Scotsman said on of the main challenges was making the adjustment from day to night shifts.

He said his crew members became like a type of family, but that they still got on each others nerves when conditions were tough.

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Paul said that an on-site gym and cinema helped crew members to wind down between shifts.

He said: "Even though we're stuck in the middle of the North Sea, the down time doesn't drag as much as you may think.

"We have a gym and – even though it's no Cineplex – we have a cinema too.

"My aim is just to relax."

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But he added that everyone on board missed friends and family back on the mainland.

Paul went on: "The shifts are tiring but at least I know at the end of every rotation I'll get a month off."

He added: "It can be tough being away from friends and family for weeks at a time.

"And although you're crewmates become like an extended family we can still get on each others nerves every once in a while.

He said that conditions could be harsh when the sea swelled around the rig.

But he added that the structure was designed to survive waves of 20 meters and even a collision with a 5000 ton tanker.

Shearwater, operated by Shell, exports oil and has back the mainland. The 1000 strong crew work around the clock in conditions that can be challenging for most.

Paul said that as much as he enjoyed life on the rig, he always looked forward to the moment he could jump on the helicopter taking him back to the mainland for a month's break.

Paul featured in a BBC film about the reality of life on the rig. One viewer posted a comment which read: "That was really neat, BBC. Thank you very much for doing this.

"What an extraordinary bunch of people that we have out there, working so that we can go for a drive or keep our homes warm.

"This technology is so awesome and it really isn’t very old relative to the age of humanity. We ought to be very thankful for these people. May God bless them and you as well, BBC."


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It comes after a former engineer and diver quit his life on land to live underwater for 100 days – but missed one thing many take for granted.

And a woman moved onto a floating home balanced on a river pontoon.

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