News Releases 2014

As the C-NLOPB remembers those lost, work continues to improve offshore helicopter passenger safety

For Immediate Release
March 11, 2014

This week marks the anniversaries of the crashes of Cougar 491 on March 12, 2009 and a Universal helicopter on March 13, 1985. These tragedies claimed the lives of 23 workers, with one survivor. The Canada-Newfoundland and Labrador Offshore Petroleum Board (C-NLOPB) remembers the victims, extends our deepest sympathy to their families and friends, and reconfirms our never-ending commitment to working with partners in a continuous effort to reduce the risks associated with traveling to and from, and working offshore.

The loss of these lives will forever affect Newfoundlanders and Labradorians, other Canadians, and all of those who work in or regulate the offshore oil and gas and aviation industries around the world.

On May 28, 2009, the C-NLOPB announced a Commission of Inquiry into offshore helicopter passenger safety, led by the Honourable Robert Wells Q.C. The Inquiry helped determine what improvements could be made to enhance safety of helicopter transportation of offshore workers. We continue to deeply appreciate the work of Judge Wells and his team and we thank him for his continued guidance in our work.

On November 17, 2010, the C-NLOPB released the Commissioner’s report, which contained 29 recommendations. Several of these focused on the C-NLOPB, and others were directed to companies operating in our offshore or governments.

Key improvements made to date include:

  • dedicated Search and Rescue response capability at Cougar Helicopters, with “wheels up” in 15-20 minutes;
  • a new simulator for Helicopter Underwater Egress Training, more closely resembling the Sikorsky S-92, at the Offshore Safety and Survival Centre;
  • enhanced Basic Survival Training, including greater fidelity with respect to underwater escape from a helicopter;
  • improvements in helicopter transportation suits, with a requirement that every individual must have a properly fitted suit;
  • additional Personal Protective Equipment, including underwater breathing apparatus attached to the suit;
  • a kiosk at the heliport to facilitate passengers’ access to Airworthiness Directives and in-flight occurrences;
  • passengers are briefed by pilots on any incident that occurred during the flight;
  • safety forums organized by the C-NLOPB; and
  • a Helicopter Operations Safety Committee comprised of operators, Cougar pilots, workers and the C-NLOPB.

Efforts continue in a number of areas, including research and development into side floatation on helicopters and sea state measurement. The C-NLOPB is currently working on a multi-tiered, performance-based Safety Oversight Management System. An operational safety review of Cougar Helicopters is also underway. The next generation of helicopter transportation suits is being tested.

There is no doubt that part of the legacy of those lost in these tragedies includes improved safety for those who travel to and from offshore installations. While the risk of such travel can never be totally eliminated, the C-NLOPB remains committed to working with its partners in Canada and around the world in the hope of preventing another accident.

Further detail into the status of the Wells Inquiry recommendations is available on the C-NLOPB website.

Media Contact:
Sean Kelly M.A., APR, FCPRS
Manager of Public Relations
(709) 778-1418
(709) 689-0713 (cell)

News Releases 2014

2014, Dec 16C-NLOPB Announces Update of Reserve Estimate for the Hibernia Field
2014, Dec 12C-NLOPB Releases Results for Calls for Bids NL13-01, NL13-02 and NL14-01
2014, Nov 14C-NLOPB announces results of Call for Bids NL13-03
2014, Nov 13Offshore safety conference draws international experts to Newfoundland and Labrador
2014, Sep 30C-NLOPB Statement on the Dedication of the Offshore Helicopter Accident Memorial
2014, Sep 29White Rose Extension Project Public Review Report Released
2014, Aug 21C-NLOPB issues Calls for Nominations for Offshore Lands
2014, Aug 5Eastern Newfoundland Strategic Environmental Assessment now available
2014, Aug 5NOTICE TO POTENTIAL BIDDERS CALL FOR BIDS NL13-01 (Area “C” – Flemish Pass) CALL FOR BIDS NL13-02 (Area “C” – Carson Basin) CALL FOR BIDS NL14-01 (Jeanne d’Arc Region)
2014, Jun 12Harris Centre to Conduct Public Review of White Rose Extension Development Plan Amendment
2014, Jun 11C-NLOPB Announces 2014 Call for Bids (Jeanne d’Arc Region)
2014, May 22Notice to Potential Bidders re: Eastern Newfoundland Region Sector Identification
2014, May 22Notice to Potential Bidders re: Labrador South Region Sector Identification
2014, May 20NOTICE TO POTENTIAL BIDDERS CALL FOR BIDS NL13-01 (Area “C” – Flemish Pass) AND CALL FOR BIDS NL13-02 (Area “C” – Carson Basin)
2014, May 15Notice to Potential Bidders Call for Bids NL13-03 (Area “B” – Western Newfoundland and Labrador Offshore Region)
2014, May 7L’OCTNLHE diffuse la Mise à jour de l’évaluation environnementale stratégique de la zone extracôtière de l’Ouest de Terre-Neuve et du Labrador
2014, May 5C-NLOPB Delivers Western Newfoundland and Labrador Offshore Area Strategic Environmental Assessment Update
2014, Mar 11As the C-NLOPB remembers those lost, work continues to improve offshore helicopter passenger safety
2014, Mar 10Notice to Potential Nominators – Areas of Interest
2014, Mar 5C-NLOPB Invites Comments on Draft Eastern Newfoundland Strategic Environmental Assessment Report