Claustrophobia

person by the Norwegian Petroleum Museum
One of the jobs given to a young female roustabout was to wash the water tanks on Ekofisk 2/4 H – the hotel platform. They were covered by their own maintenance programme.
— Margareth Knudsen working at the Ekofisk Center. Photo: Husmo Foto/Norwegian Petroleum Museum
© Norsk Oljemuseum

The tanks were emptied, and then had to be entered with a steamer to clean them out. This involved passing through long corridors and several manholes.

“There weren’t any electric lights inside, of course, so we had a portable lighting unit which was a bit big and heavy,” explains Maggi Knutsen. “Their drawback was that they couldn’t take rough handling, and might be temporarily extinguished by a little bump.

“I was doing the job together with Kvåle. He was an OK fellow, reliable, steady and calm, a big teddy-bear of a man and very pleasant.

“The light suddenly vanished. Everything fell silent. We weren’t right next to each other, so I called out ‘Kvåle!’ but got no answer. I tried again with the same lack of response and began to get panicky.

“I yelled ‘Kvåle!’. Then I felt a very big hand on my shoulder. ‘What’s the matter? Are you scared’, he asked. I had been so affected by the darkness that I hadn’t heard him coming.

“So he took me by the hand and guided me out. We were soon back in the light and everything was OK, and I didn’t get claustrophobia from that incident either.”

Related by Margaret Knutsen

Published 4. July 2019   •   Updated 1. November 2019
© Norsk Oljemuseum
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