A spokesman for the Kinloss Royal Air Force base in Scotland, which had aircraft involved in the operation, said: "It is understood the incident was sparked by comments made by a woman on the installation."

A police spokeswoman said that no one had been arrested, but a 23-year-old British woman was being taken ashore for questioning.

The incident had been "very quickly contained from a police point of view," the spokeswoman said.

About 14 helicopters and a Nimrod reconnaissance aircraft were sent to the Safe Scandinavia platform in the Britannia oil field.

A statement said that the workers were being returned to the oil rig.

The platform is owned and operated by Oslo-listed company ProSafe.