BMT Fluid Mechanics assists BP with helicopter SAR trialsNews // August 5, 2005
BP has developed a new approach to offshore Search and Rescue (SAR) based on offshore-based helicopters combined with a new class of Regional Support Vessels (RSVs, the first of which is currently on trials from Yantai-Raffles shipyard in China), and Autonomous Rescue and Recovery Craft (ARRC).
The aim is to provide an enhanced rescue and recovery system for the UK North Sea on a regional basis, with a better 'quality' of rescue than at present, better prospects for survival, coverage over alarger geographical area, and improved prospects of rescue in adverse weather.
BMT Fluid Mechanics recently assisted BP with systematic timed trials to evaluate helicopter rescue performance in a range of offshore sea conditions. BMT provided a Trials Manager to help co-ordinate and plan the trials, and analysed the trials resultsto help optimise the trials programme and document the level of rescue performance achieved, thus providing an independent third-partyassessment of the trials programme.
Search and Rescue performance was assessed against a target of rescuing a full complement of 19 helicopter passengers and two crew members from the water, and transferring them to a place of safety within a two-hour target period.
This period included getting the helicopter airborne, flying time in a head wind to an incident at the furthest point in the helicopter's regional area, and return to the nearest fixed platform.
Key trials objectives were: to evaluate the effectiveness of alternative rescue procedures andequipment in a range of different conditions; demonstrate the enhanced capabilities of the alternative rescue arrangements to the offshore work force; and demonstrate to management and regulators that target rescue times are achievable with acceptable levels of confidence.
The timed trials took place over a six-month period, and involved over 550 mannequin lifts by day and 150 lifts at night, in a range of sea conditions.
Results from the mannequin trials were confirmed by carrying out a small number of lifts usinglive volunteers.