On May 30th, Aberdeen’s Press and Journal reported that offshore oil workers found bed bugs in their accommodations, which are floating right smack in the middle of the North Sea. (I missed blogging about this story at the time, but it is important enough to make be backtrack a bit.)
Workers on the Safe Bristolia flotel, which provides accommodation for the Conoco-Phillips-owned Brittania platform, complained to bosses about the parasites last week.
The flotel sits 170 miles north-east of Aberdeen, in the Britannia field, and is understood to have been brought in from Singapore last month.
Offshore oil work is notoriously grueling, and the people who stay out there for a month or more at a time have few creature comforts. Being stuck out there with bed bugs is an ugly scenario indeed.
Scottish workers who’d never encountered bed bugs and knew the flotel’s recent history might assume that the bed bugs were brought in when the flotel came from Singapore.
One worker, who wished to remain anonymous, said he was appalled by the discovery.
“The hygiene of the accommodation is disgusting,” he said. “If we are exposed to these bugs, then we could be taking them back to our homes, which in turn could see us passing them on to our families.
However, bed bugs could easily have come aboard with one of the local workers.
A ConocoPhillips spokes-woman said last night: “We can confirm that traces of bed bugs were identified in a very small number of cabins within the Safe Bristolia flotel last week. Bedding was immediately replaced and the area treated by the instructed specialist hygiene contractors as an additional precautionary measure.
I really hope those “specialist hygiene contractors” pulled out the big guns, since it takes much more than the usual cleaning routine to get rid of bed bugs for good. I also hope there will be follow-up treatments and inspections.
It’s fully plausible, if the bed bug infestation was as small as the spokesperson implied above, that the bed bugs were brought in from workers’ homes or from a train, bus, boat, plane, or helicopter they used to get from their homes to the rig.
And the map of Bedbugger readers tells us Scotland has a lot of bed bugs.
No matter how they got there, the infested flotel is a reminder that bed bugs really can be made at home anywhere, from a cave, to a boat, to a floating hotel, to a luxury mansion.
Thanks to hopelessnomo for the article!