Engineer tied up at UAE oil site awarded £100k in damages

High Court, Belfast
Image caption,
The case was heard at the High Court in Belfast on Monday

A County Antrim engineer who was tied up and had shots fired over his head when he tried to enter an oil facility in the United Arab Emirates (UAE) has been awarded £100,000 in damages.

Michael Duggan, 44, sued his former employers, Advanced Sensors, based in Carrickfergus, over the incident.

The judge said there were forseeable risks from an ad-hoc arrangement to gain access to the site.

He also awarded Mr Duggan his legal costs.

The judge found aganist Advanced Sensors over an alleged breach in its duty of care.

The firm was responsible for installing and maintaining oil and water analysers at the facility in Fujairah.

In August 2014, Mr Duggan, who is originally from England, was flown out to carry out emergency work on the sensors.

He was not provided with the normal infrastructure pass, the court heard, but instead given a signed passport copy and told this would be adequate for entry to the site.

Although his driver was allowed through the main gate, a member of the UAE Army refused access to Mr Duggan.

The court heard a rifle was cocked at him when he beckoned for the driver to return.

'Arms bound behind his back'

Four shots were initially fired above his head, forcing him to duck and take out his phone.

Further shots were fired before Mr Duggan was made to kneel on the ground.

His arms were bound behind his back using cable ties during an ordeal which was said to have lasted for at least 30 minutes.

At that stage, Mr Duggan was given a chair before senior military personnel arrived and allowed access to the site.

Image source, Google
Image caption,
Advanced Sensors was responsible for installing and maintaining oil and water analysers at the facility

Despite being issued with an apology, he was unable to continue working and flew home.

With the engineer said to have suffered an adjustment disorder due to the experience, his lawyers sued Advanced Sensors for alleged breach of statutory duty.

In a case centred on a dispute over liability, the judge at the High Court in Belfast described the ad-hoc passport arrangements as utterly inadequate.

"This is an unforeseen example of egregious behaviour by a soldier, but the risk of a reaction giving rise to adverse consequences for the plaintiff is clearly foreseeable," he said.

"The precise manner in which the soldier reacted in this event does not absolve the defendant of liability for the consequences of that reaction."

Reacting to the verdict, Mr Duggan said he was "delighted that this ordeal has finally come to an end, and justice has been served".