A TRADE union has paid tribute to the 167 workers who tragically died 33 years ago in the explosions which destroyed the Piper Alpha Platform in the North Sea, 120 miles from Aberdeen.  

The platform originally just produced oil before expanding to include gas production.  

This meant that the platform was built with oil safety, rather than gas safety, in mind.  

At the time, Piper Alpha was Britain's biggest platform, accounting for around 10% of the North Sea's total oil and gas production. 

The oil and gas platform suffered an explosion in July 1988, which is still regarded as the worst offshore oil disaster in the history of the UK. 

Of the 226 people on board the platform, 165 were killed with only 61 surviving.  

There were also another two casualties from one of the rescue vessels. 

Mick Lynch, RMT’s general secretary, said: “We ask that offshore employers allow all workers to take a moment today to remember the 167 offshore workers and the devastating effect that this disaster had on their families and communities, especially in North East Scotland. The men of Piper are gone but will never be forgotten. 

“This year, the anniversary of Piper Alpha takes place during the UK Government’s Maritime Safety Week. We call on Ministers to respect the memory of Piper Alpha’s victims by delivering the offshore safety culture of continuous improvement recommended in the Cullen Report into the disaster.” 

Scottish Green MSP Maggie Chapman tweeted: "Today we remember the 167 offshore oil and gas workers who died on this day in 1988. 

"The devastating loss of life the Piper Alpha disaster caused must never be forgotten. Health and safety at work must always be paramount. #WeRemember #PiperAlpha"