Britain: Sinking of the Sea Gem

It was a great day, early last month, aboard British Petroleum's offshore drilling rig Sea Gem, anchored 42 miles off the coast of Britain in the North Sea. Flow tests of the natural-gas pocket discovered at the site showed a capacity of 10 million cu. ft. a day, enough to supply the fuel needs of a town of 300,000 people and to prompt Britain's Minister of Power, Frederick Lee, to recommend building an undersea pipeline (at some $250,000 per mile) to bring the gas to land by late 1967 or early 1968.

Then, last week, disaster struck. As the 32-man...

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