The family of a man whose death on an oil rig in Qatar sparked a murder probe have paid tribute to him calling him “amazing” and a “beautiful soul”.
An investigation is underway after Robert Robson, 38, was found dead on the Seafox Burj platform off the coast of Qatar. The incident in the Al Shaheen oil field in the Arabian Gulf, also saw a second man injured.
A third man has been detained and is being questioned by the Qatari authorities. All three men worked for a remote operated vehicle contractor based in Scotland. The man being questioned is understood to be from the north-east of Scotland.
The Sun and The Times reported that Mr Robson was allegedly ‘bludgeoned to death’. The Sun also reported that police officers were flown in by helicopter and the platform was locked down. The police service in Qatar is under the jurisdiction of the country’s Ministry of Interior.
A spokesman for Qatar’s Ministry of Interior said: “Law enforcement authorities are investigating a 12 December incident at an offshore facility. The incident involved three British nationals working for a contractor company.
"One individual sustained fatal injuries, another was hospitalised and released. A third individual has been detained as part of a criminal investigation by the relevant authorities.”
‘He was an irreplaceable friend to many’
Paying tribute to Mr Robson, from Tyne and Wear, his family said in a statement: “Robbie was an amazing, one-of-a-kind, beautiful soul. He was a loving partner, dad, son, brother and uncle who was tragically taken too soon.
“He was an irreplaceable friend to many, and Robbie will be sorely missed by everyone that knew him. As a family, we request privacy at this time.”
A spokesperson for the Foreign and Commonwealth Development Office had previously said: “We are supporting the family of a British man who has died and a man who has been injured in Qatar and are in contact with the local authorities.”
The men worked for Film-Ocean Ltd, a contractor providing remote operated vehicle (ROV) services for North Oil Company. A statement from the firm said: “Film-Ocean Ltd can regretfully confirm one person has been fatally wounded and another has been injured following a non-work related incident on an offshore installation off Qatar. A third person has been taken into police custody and is assisting Qatari authorities with their inquiries.
“The injured worker received treatment in hospital in Qatar, but has since been released. The next of kin of those involved have been informed, and the company is working to ensure they receive the appropriate support. All three personnel were contracted to Film-Ocean and were working on the platform at the time of the incident, which was reported around 0140hrs Arabia Standard Time on Monday, December 12.
“Film-Ocean is liaising with the Foreign and Commonwealth and Development Office, as well as other stakeholders, to establish the full circumstances surrounding the incident. The company will be making no further statement at this time, and the families of those involved have requested that their privacy is respected.”
Qatar has the death penalty for the crimes of murder, terrorism, rape, drug trafficking, treason and espionage. This is carried out by firing squad or hanging. The strict laws of the tiny Gulf state have been in the news as it hosts the World Cup. Alcohol has been banned from stadiums, and during the group stage of the tournament a migrant worker died while working at the Saudi Arabian team’s hotel complex.
The treatment of migrant workers, who have helped build seven of the World Cup’s new stadiums and other infrastructure, has been one of the main controversies around holding the tournament in Qatar. The Guardian reported in February 2021 that 6,500 migrant workers from India, Pakistan, Nepal, Bangladesh and Sri Lanka had died in Qatar since it won its World Cup bid. The number is based on figures provided by the countries’ embassies in Qatar.