- Age: 39 years
- Nationality: Scottish
- Family: Wife, two children ages nine and four
- First job: Started working offshore at 18 as a painter
- Current job: Tourpusher on Maersk Interceptor
- Interests: Photography, football
- For more photos: stevebirrell.zenfolio.com
At home, Birrell spends his time out and about around the beaches, cliffs and seascapes of the Shetland Islands off the north coast of Scotland, looking for angles and views to record.
“It’s a bug I’ve got, like an addiction. I can’t handle not having the camera with me,” says Birrell, explaining how when off-duty, he will collect his camera and gas meter – to ensure the conditions are safe to take photos – when he spots an interesting shot.
Maersk Interceptor is one of four new XLE jackup rigs designed for year-round operation in the North Sea, in water depths of up to 150 metres.
Birrell has been working offshore for more than 20 years. He says working on Maersk Interceptor is like “going into a space ship” compared with some of the older, manual rigs he used to work on. “The equipment available to us makes everything easier. There’s very little manual handling to be done,” he says.
“Your mind is always on the job. You’re always thinking ahead about what needs to be done – and if you don’t think about these things, you could cost the company thousands and thousands,” says Birrell, adding that the off-time onshore – and his relaxing walks with the camera – are essential so that he can maintain 100% focus when he is working.