Grounded helicopters lead to focus on alternativesNews // April 21, 2010
Personnel transfer specialist Reflex Marine tells Offshore Shipping Online that it has experienced a significant upturn in activity following the grounding of several helicopter flights to North Sea oil and gas platforms in the wake of the Iceland volcano.
The continuing disruption to aviation services in Europe is having a major impact on offshore operators.
Over the past few days, Reflex Marine has received numerous enquiries from operators trying to plan contingencies to move crews by vessel, in order to keep their operations going.
The company, based in Aberdeen and Truro, Cornwall, supplies the Frog and Toro personnel transfer devices, which are used to move people from offshore installations to supply vessels by means of a crane.
Philip Strong, Reflex Marine CEO said: ‘We are doing our level best to try to meet this demand, but our limited stock of devices was sent offshore last week on a first-come-first-served basis. We are trying to fast-track production to meet this surge in demand. However we have heard from many of our customers who already have Frogs in the North Sea and Norway who are happily moving people using our system. We tend to face these surges in demand from time to time, more commonly due to prolonged periods of fog, but never on such a scale as this.”
Mr Strong will highlight the issue of marine personnel transfer as a speaker at the North Sea Offshore Cranes & Lifting Conference, which runs from April 27-29 at the Aberdeen Exhibition and Conference Centre.
In a paper entitled “The Growing Role of Marine Personnel Transfer” he will address emergency preparation and in particular evacuation contingencies.
“The current period of aviation shut downs will no doubt lead to reflection across the oil and gas industry, with people asking the question: ‘What options do we have for safe and controlled evacuations when helicopters are unable to fly?’ We are expecting a lively and open discussion at next week’s session,” said Mr Strong