BP plans to implement what it calls a new concept in offshore search, rescue, and recovery for its North Sea operations. This decision follows a three-year consultation process with its offshore workforce and key stakeholders. Investments by BP and its contractors in the new measures will exceed £135 million. A regional approach will be adopted for rescue and recovery, which will involve the introduction of:
• New regional support vessels carrying specialist independent rescue and recovery craft and fast rescue craft
• New search and rescue (SAR) helicopters with specially trained crew
• A new platform-based radar system
• New man overboard alarms and personal locator beacons
These measures will be phased in across BP's North Sea installations, with full implementation expected by 2006.
As part of this initiative, BP Exploration has awarded Bond Offshore Helicopters a 10-year contract, valued at £10 million, to provide search and rescue operations in the UK North Sea, using two new Super Puma AS332 Mark IIs. The aircraft have been ordered from Eurocopter, for delivery in the second half of 2005.
One will be based on a production platform in the central sector, the other being stationed on Shetland.
Both will operate in conjunction with regional support ships.