SCOTTISH Secretary Jim Murphy said last night that North Sea workers commuting to platforms offshore by helicopter may have personal safety beacons restored to their survival gear.
The devices were controversially withdrawn after a crash involving a Super Puma helicopter in February, amid concerns they interfered with the helicopter’s own, more powerful beacon.
Mr Murphy told MPs in the Commons: “The reintroduction of those beacons is now under consideration.”
Mr Murphy said the confidence of those working offshore is important “following the recent dreadful, high-profile tragedy that claimed so many lives” last month.
He said: “That is why there is again consideration of the reintroduction of personal locator beacons.
“Of course we are looking into the detail of that horrific crash, and are seeing what lessons can be learned.”
West Aberdeenshire and Kincardine Liberal Democrat MP Sir Robert Smith said later: “There is a desire on all sides to see the benefits of personal locator beacons restored, but technical hurdles have to be overcome.”
He said the problem was that, when they transmitted, they caused the more powerful “smart” helicopter beacon to turn itself off.
He added: “I would certainly welcome anything that improves the chances of survival by helping victims to be rescued more swiftly.”
The accident which killed 16 offshore workers on April 1 followed a crash involving another Bond Super Puma helicopter in February, when all 18 passengers survived.