Calendar An icon of a desk calendar. Cancel An icon of a circle with a diagonal line across. Caret An icon of a block arrow pointing to the right. Email An icon of a paper envelope. Facebook An icon of the Facebook "f" mark. Google An icon of the Google "G" mark. Linked In An icon of the Linked In "in" mark. Logout An icon representing logout. Profile An icon that resembles human head and shoulders. Telephone An icon of a traditional telephone receiver. Tick An icon of a tick mark. Is Public An icon of a human eye and eyelashes. Is Not Public An icon of a human eye and eyelashes with a diagonal line through it. Pause Icon A two-lined pause icon for stopping interactions. Quote Mark A opening quote mark. Quote Mark A closing quote mark. Arrow An icon of an arrow. Folder An icon of a paper folder. Breaking An icon of an exclamation mark on a circular background. Camera An icon of a digital camera. Caret An icon of a caret arrow. Clock An icon of a clock face. Close An icon of the an X shape. Close Icon An icon used to represent where to interact to collapse or dismiss a component Comment An icon of a speech bubble. Comments An icon of a speech bubble, denoting user comments. Ellipsis An icon of 3 horizontal dots. Envelope An icon of a paper envelope. Facebook An icon of a facebook f logo. Camera An icon of a digital camera. Home An icon of a house. Instagram An icon of the Instagram logo. LinkedIn An icon of the LinkedIn logo. Magnifying Glass An icon of a magnifying glass. Search Icon A magnifying glass icon that is used to represent the function of searching. Menu An icon of 3 horizontal lines. Hamburger Menu Icon An icon used to represent a collapsed menu. Next An icon of an arrow pointing to the right. Notice An explanation mark centred inside a circle. Previous An icon of an arrow pointing to the left. Rating An icon of a star. Tag An icon of a tag. Twitter An icon of the Twitter logo. Video Camera An icon of a video camera shape. Speech Bubble Icon A icon displaying a speech bubble WhatsApp An icon of the WhatsApp logo. Information An icon of an information logo. Plus A mathematical 'plus' symbol. Duration An icon indicating Time. Success Tick An icon of a green tick. Success Tick Timeout An icon of a greyed out success tick. Loading Spinner An icon of a loading spinner.

UK government rejects call for public inquiry into helicopter safety

Images of the downed  helicopter which ditched in the North Sea. The incident - about 30 miles east of Aberdeen - involved a Bond EC 225 Super Puma  helicopter.
Images of the downed helicopter which ditched in the North Sea. The incident - about 30 miles east of Aberdeen - involved a Bond EC 225 Super Puma helicopter.

The UK Government has rejected calls from MPs for a public inquiry into helicopter safety in the North Sea oil and gas industry.

In July, the transport select committee at Westminster threw its weight behind calls for an independent probe into offshore helicopter safety.

It followed a series of crashes in the North Sea, including a ditching off Shetland in August last year which killed four workers.

The MPs travelled to Aberdeen and heard evidence from survivors of recentincidents, as well as pilots, trade unions, oil and gas industry leaders, and helicopter firms.

Its key recommendation was that a full inquiry should be held into the impact of “commercial pressures” on safety.

But the government has now rejected the committee’s demands.

It said: “With regards to commercial pressure, neither the Civil Aviation Authority (CAA), industry nor government has seen any evidence to suggest that safety is being compromised as a result of commercial pressure from the industry.

“It is true that competition for contracts, particularly where contracts are offered at short notice or awarded at a lower price may impact on the ability of the operator to recruit and train for a new commitment, but there is no evidence to suggest this is the case.

“The committee’s report state that helicopter operators do not support the accusation that commercial pressure from their customers affects the safety of their operations and hotly dispute the suggestion made by BALPA (the pilots union).

“It is important for the CAA and industry to be given time to implement the recommendations from the CAA’s Offshore Review. In the circumstances the Government does not support the call for a public inquiry on this issue.”

Commenting on the government’s response to the Transport Committee’s report on Offshore helicopter safety, Louise Ellman, chair of the Committee said today: “I am deeply disappointed that ministers have rejected our recommendation they should hold an independent inquiry to investigate offshore helicopter safety.

“This is a regrettable decision for the loved ones and relatives of people killed in offshore helicopter accidents. It sends the wrong signal to people who continue to work in the offshore industry.”

Frank Doran, Labour MP for Aberdeen North, led calls for a public inquiry.

“I raised the issue of offshore helicopter transport safety with the House of Commons Transport Select Committee following the 2013 crash which resulted in 4 deaths.

“I was pleased when they decided to launch an inquiry and was gratified when the committee recommended a full independent Public Inquiry after a very thorough investigation.

“I am deeply disappointed that the secretary of state has decided not to hold a public inquiry.

“I believe there are fundamental issues which have not been dealt with, not the least of which is the way the offshore helicopter transport industry has been regulated over the past 40 years

“I am writing today to the secretary of state for transport to request a meeting to discuss the issue further.

“I will be accompanied by family members of victims of the 2013 crash, survivors, trade unionists and legal advisors. I will announce the date once a suitable time has been negotiated with the secretary of state.”

Julia Allison, wife of George Allison who died in the August 2013 crash off Sumburgh, said: “I recognise that the industry has started to face up to some of its difficulties but I firmly believe that until there has been a full public examination of all aspects of the industry, from regulation to operation and industry culture, then the industry will struggle to win the confidence of the public and particularly the offshore workforce.

“I and members of my family have agreed to join with other families who have lost loved ones, and survivors, in an attempt to persuade the Secretary of State to reconsider and order a full public inquiry into helicopter transport offshore. I think that if the lessons of successive tragic incidents in the offshore industry had been learned, my husband, George Allison and his colleagues would still be alive today.”

Recommended for you


More from Energy Voice

Latest Posts