RUTH CRAMMOND - WEST FIFE WIDOW TO FIGHT ON AFTER LOSING DAMAGES BATTLE
By Graham Gibson
Published: 25 September 2008
Ruth Crammond, of
Mrs Crammond said she “didn’t care how long it takes” to get justice for her husband, Bill – who was blamed for an explosion on the Byford Dolphin Oil rig in the North Sea – after an Oslo court ruled against finding the government legally responsible for damages.
“I am angry and sad at the decision but I am not going to give up,” Mrs Crammond told the Press. “All I am looking for is an apology and the truth to come out and clear Bill.
“Fighting on is not only up to me. There are seven British families who are helping each other to get through this. We want the Norwegian government to stand up and take responsibility for what happened.”
Mrs Crammond is among the relatives of seven British divers, who died between the 1960s and 1980s, who are suing the Norwegian government, as owner of the oilfields, for their loved ones’ deaths.
She was told that Bill, who was working for a diving company called Comex, caused an explosion on 5th November 1983 by detaching a diving bell from the decompression chamber before it was safe to do so, killing himself and four other divers.
However, the North Sea Divers Alliance (NSDA), a group of pioneer divers working for the Norwegian oil industry, obtained reports that the real cause was faulty equipment.
Mrs Crammond was quick to praise the work of the NSDA.
“Without the help of the NSDA we would not be where we are now,” she said. “If they hadn’t found me six months ago I would not even have known this was happening and what the truth actually was.”
Mrs Crammond admitted the 25-year ordeal had taken a great toll on her and her children, Linda (37) and Billy (33).
“Our lives could have been very different,” she said. “I hid the story about what happened from my children for 25 years but at least we can talk about the situation now.
“Sometimes I wish it had never all started again but my children are ready to carry on the fight even after I’m gone if that is how long it takes.”
Mrs Crammond has been overwhelmed by the support of the Norwegian people, one of whom set up an online petition to garner support for the ex-divers and their families.
“The electronic petition is just another example of the great support we have had from the Norwegian people,” she said. “They are right behind us and believe we are justified in our case. The more we can get to sign the petition the better.
“I am confident we can get a result and in the abilities of Tom Wingen who has been fantastic.”
Mr Wingen, a spokesman for the NSDA, has been instrumental in bringing the law suit against the Norwegian government and is keen to stress they will fight on.
“The court ruling was very frustrating but it is by no means a knock out punch,” he said. “Work began again on the day of the ruling.
“The indication is that the judge would have liked to rule in favour of the divers and families, but then would have been required to make a new legal precedent which could affect future rulings on similar pending cases in the court.
“The long and short of it all is that the verdict, in the way it is written, is designed for us to succeed when bringing the case to a higher court.”
Both Mr Wingen and Mrs Crammond were keen to encourage everyone to sign the digital petition and pass it on to anyone else they know who would be willing.
Mr Wingen said, “The Norwegian government needs to know that this case is in the eye of the world, not just something they can sweep under the carpet in
The online petition can be accessed at www.pioneerdivers.org