Alistair Carmichael, MP for the Northern Isles, has sponsored a Parliamentary Motion that calls for urgent improvements in safety on North Sea transport helicopters. Since February 2009, there have been six helicopter accidents resulting in the deaths of 33 offshore workers and crew and the rescue of 65 from the North Sea. The Motion also calls for a public enquiry to improve confidence in helicopter safety procedures among those who use them.
Commenting Mr. Carmichael said:
“It is crucial that off shore workers are transported safely, and that they have complete confidence in the procedures that are in place for their safety. At the moment, this does not appear to be the case.
“The same few mechanical failures have been the cause of crashes time and time again, and lifting the restrictions on Super Puma 225s without working with unions and restoring confidence is a mistake.
“It is vital that the Civil Aviation Authority improve helicopter transport safety arrangements in order to halt the worrying trend in crashes, and restore faith in not only the helicopters, but the robustness of the regulations. Off shore workers need to know that their safety is in the mind of the regulator, and that their concerns and fears
The motion Alistair was a sponsor of is:
Early Day Motion 553 Offshore helicopter safety
That this House is concerned by the safety of offshore helicopter transport; observes that since February 2009 thirty three offshore workers and crew have died and sixty five rescued from the North Sea following six accidents involving Super Puma 225 and AS332 L2 helicopters; remembers the thirteen passengers and crew who lost their lives on 29 April 2016 in a 225 which crashed off the south coast of Norway; notes that Norwegian and UK investigations of fatal and non-fatal Super Puma accidents since 2009 have found similar mechanical failures; supports the continued grounding of the Super Puma fleet across the North Sea; further notes that the manufacturer Airbus surveyed offshore workers in June and found a majority with profound reservations over flying in Super Pumas again; is concerned that the Civil Aviation Authority lifted official restrictions on these helicopters in July without consulting offshore workers or their trade unions; believes that Super Pumas should not return to the North Sea without the prior agreement of a majority of offshore workers; is concerned the Government rejected the Transport Select Committee’s July 2014 recommendation for a public inquiry into commercial pressures on offshore helicopter safety; is the thirtieth anniversary of the Piper Alpha disaster when recognises that 2018 we are reminded of the necessity for the highest possible standards of offshore safety and supports the RMT union’s call for the Government to launch a public inquiry into the offshore helicopter safety concerns that are being raised by offshore workers.