BP Amoco is looking to replace the safety standby vessels that keep a 24-hour watch on each of its North Sea platforms with a fleet of six helicopters.
The oil company maintains the Super Puma helicopters would be able to achieve faster recovery times – particularly in poor conditions – and would involve less handling of victims between different craft.
`We know what these aircraft can do in bad weather – they have a track record with the Coast Guard,’ said a company spokesman. He said the change would be `cost-neutral at best’.
BP Amoco is consulting its North Sea workforce on the proposal, which has been given a tentative welcome from the main offshore unions.
Opposition has come from the standby vessel operators, who said that if all North Sea operators followed suit they would have to lay up 120 ships and shed 3,000 jobs.
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