I have enjoyed spending the last couple of days with two Norwegian scholars, Hans-Jørgen Wallin Weihe and Marie Smith-Solbakken, who are doing work on persistent grief and trauma after oil rig disasters, notably three major disasters in the North Atlantic in the 1980s: the Alexander L. Kielland in Norway in 1980, 123 people died; the Ocean Ranger in Canada in 1982, 84 people died; and the Piper Alpha in the UK in 1988, 167 people died.
A series of explosions completely destroyed the Piper Alpha. The explosions were triggered when a condensate pump — offline due to unfinished maintenance — was activated. The night shift was unaware that the condensate pump was unsafe to use as the day shift had left only a written advisement that the night shift never saw. 226 people had been on the Piper Alpha: 165 died, as well as two rescue workers, while 61 survived.
I have more songs about the Ocean Ranger than for any other Atlantic Canadian disaster except for the Westray coal mine disaster in 1992. Hans, Marie and I were curious to know how many songs or tunes I might find about the Piper Alpha. Doing a cursory search of Google and Youtube, I found nine:
Who Pays the Piper? by Nancy Nicholson
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VHMIPdlUgbQ (performed and recorded by The Macs, 1990)
https://www.scotslanguage.com/articles/node/id/446 (performed by Nancy Nicholson; lyrics and notation)
Piper Alpha, by Mark Lee (2018 — on the 30th anniversary)
Piper Alpha Disaster, by Nightswimmer (instrumental)
Piper Alpha, by Prosperina, 2011?
Piper Alpha, by Cathode (instrumental, 2009)
Piper Alpha, slow bagpipe air, by Eric Rigler
http://www.plheineman.net/Behind%20the%20Tunes%20II.pdf (sheet music)
On Piper Alpha, by Cogs
Sililoquy for Piper Alpha (music for solo trumpet), 1998
Piper Alpha Oil Rig Disaster
Tags: 1982 Ocean Ranger
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