Keep the North Sea  –  Puma Free Campaign- Unite to meet The Scottish Transport Minister – Humza Yousaf MSP

Unite the Union  delegation of offshore reps and regional officers  will  meet with  Humza Yousaf MSP, Minister for Transport and the Islands as  part of the ongoing campaign to keep the North Sea Puma Free
                                                                Humza Yousaf  MSP
The delegation will meet 19th December at 2.30pm until 3.15pm in the Scottish Parliament in Edinburgh.
 Grahame Smith, STUC General Secretary, and sister offshore unions will also be in attendance to convey the message from Union members working offshore to the transport minister – Airbus  – Oil and Gas Uk and all operators and contractors – the Offshore workforce have lost all confidence in the 225 Super Puma Chopper and there should be no return of this  chopper on commercial operations
Unite has written to Offshore oil companies and contractors  – not one has said they intend to use super pumas to transport their workers offshore.- Norwegian oil company Statoil has publicly stated that they will not use the 225s again.
If you are a Unite member and you  would like to attend  please contact
the Unite Aberdeen Office on 01224 645 271  or contact your Unite the Union rep or branch secretary.
Unite offshore  contact –

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Keep the North Sea Puma Free


Offshore Unions say the manufacturer of the super puma 225 helicopters Airbus, haven’t convinced them that they are safe enough to return to service

” UK and Norwegian trade union officials and reps that they are safe enough to return to service in the North Sea”.

UK and Norwegian offshore trade unions have returned from a visit from Airbus headquarters in France warning Airbus that union members do not want to fly in the 225sand the offshore workforce has no confidence in this helicopter.

Click on the link to the STV news report Friday  10 November


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Strike threat over return of ‘flying coffin’

Strike threat over return of ‘flying coffin’

Workers say they have no confidence in Super Puma helicopter after deaths of more than 30 people in offshore crashes

A Super Puma EC225 crashed in 2016 killing 13 people
A Super Puma EC225 crashed in 2016 killing 13 peopleTORSTEIN BOE/EPA

Tens of thousands of offshore workers in Scotland will be urged to strike if a helicopter involved in a spate of accidents returns to service.

Pat Rafferty, the Scottish head of Unite, the union, has threatened to ballot members if the Super Puma, an aircraft once routinely used to ferry workers to North Sea rigs, is reintroduced.

The helicopter was grounded across Europe last year in the wake of a crash in Norway but restrictions were lifted in July by the Civil Aviation Authority (CAA).

Amid concern that UK helicopter operators could bring back the aircraft, MSPs will debate the issue this week in the Scottish parliament. Rafferty is urging politicians to back Unite’s call for the Super Puma to be grounded indefinitely and said moves to return the aircraft to offshore duties would be strongly opposed.

“People view this aircraft as a flying coffin,” said Rafferty. “We’re absolutely prepared to take industrial action if there are any moves to reintroduce the aircraft and we’re confident that the majority of our members, not to mention the public, would be hugely supportive.”

A recent survey by Airbus, which produces the Super Puma, suggested more than 60% of offshore workers would not feel comfortable travelling in the helicopter. Since 2009, it has been involved in several crashes and more than 30 offshore workers have been killed.

In April 2016, 13 people died after a Super Puma EC225 crashed west of the Norwegian city of Bergen. Among those killed was Iain Stuart, an oil worker from Laurencekirk in Aberdeenshire.

Iain Stuart was among those killed in the crash west of the Norwegian city of Bergen
Iain Stuart was among those killed in the crash west of the Norwegian city of BergenPOLICE SCOTLAND/PA WIRE

Witnesses described seeing “huge flames” and “black smoke” after the helicopter plunged an estimated 2,100ft in 10 seconds. It had been en route from Statoil’s Gullfaks B platform when it crashed closed to Flesland airport.

In 2012, EC225 Super Puma helicopters crashed in two incidents in Scotland, one off Aberdeen and the other off Shetland. Both crashes, which did not result in fatalities, were blamed on gearbox problems. In 2009, All 14 passengers and two crew died when a Super Puma came down in the North Sea, close to Peterhead on the east coast of Scotland. In 2015, the Super Puma EC225 was rebranded under Airbus as model H225.

“Thirty-three families in Scotland have lost loved ones who stepped on board a Super Puma helicopter,” said Rafferty. “Our members have made it absolutely clear that they have lost confidence in the aircraft. That confidence is not going to return, ever.”

The CAA said lifting of restrictions on the Super Puma followed modifications by Airbus. Operators are also required to carry out rigorous checks and to replace parts more frequently. “We would never have lifted the restrictions unless we were convinced that the changes meant that the required standards were now being met.”

Airbus Helicopters said: “We welcome any open and informed discussion on the safety of offshore helicopters and this is clearly a topic of great importance to MSPs.

“While global and national independent authorities have lifted all H225 flight restrictions based on new safety measures, which go beyond regulators’ requirements, Airbus Helicopters understands the importance of restoring confidence in the aircraft ahead of any return to service. We are now in the process of informing the workforce and wider community of the updates.”



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1 comment
Peter Wright 

I flew in these machines in the 1980s and even then they were problematic. One crashed on final approach to Aberdeen Airport when a cargo hatch separated and disabled the tail rotor. There were few serious injuries but the passengers turned up for their next offshore flight wearing teeshirts emblazoned “North West Hutton Freefall Catering Team.”

I recall another landing on a ship in the North Sea following tail rotor failure and several other fatal incidents. Since then there is a regular catalogue of serious incidents. This is not a good machine.

After the Chinook crash in 1986 with 41 fatalities, Robert Maxwell, then owner of British International Helicopters, boarded and flew in one of the modified designs to prove how safe and reliable they were. Despite wishes and feelings on the ground the aircraft, (an awful machine to fly in,) returned safely but he had in effect sealed its fate as a passenger carrier.


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Keep the North Sea Puma Free




  1. Fill out a Safety First freepost postcard and return it to Unite Offshore, who will then ensure it gets to your elected representative. Click here for a downloadable/printable freepost postcard
  2. If you have not already signed the Back Home Safe 2017 petition do so today
  3. Get Involved, Get Protected: Join Unite Today.
  4. Join Unite Offshore to lobby the Scottish Parliament on the evening of 24th October 2017.

 Energy Voice – Poll results: Would you fly in a H225? – Keep the North Sea Puma Free

 Energy Voice – Poll results: Would you fly in a H225?

Written by  – 

Guillaume Faury, chief executive of Airbus Helicopters travels on the H225

More than 50% of Energy Voice readers do not want to fly in a controversial offshore helicopter, according to a poll.

The survey was launched last week and received more than 3,100 responses.

A total of 39% of the votes said they would fly in an Airbus H225 aircraft, with 52% saying they would not.

Around 2% of the voters said they would consider it but would want more information on safety upgrades while 7% voted that they were happy with the alternative or replacement airframes.

The helicopters were recently cleared to return to service, dependent on a safety case, after a lengthy grounding that followed a fatal crash off Norway.

The boss of manufacturer Airbus has been challenged to fly in the same conditions as the workforce in the most recent development to a long standing wrangle over the aircraft reintroduction. Read more here.

Thanks to everyone who took part in the poll.



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Please, Sir Can I have some more?


Dickensian practices from Oil major and catering contractor

please sir

Oil supermajor BP has defended its offshore catering offering amid claims that oil workers are being denied snacks between meals.

It comes after allegations that the food galley offshore was being cordoned off between meal times.

One rig worker, who wants to remain anonymous, said light bites such as bread, fruit, cakes and ice cream are getting locked away after meal times as part of a change of policy. The worker highlighted safety concerns.

The removal of black pudding from the breakfast menu also provoked complaints from some of the workforce.

However energy giant BP said some food items cannot be left lying out in order to comply with food standards.

And the company said that it offers “extensive” catering options. The oil major has also reinstated black pudding as a breakfast option.

The source said: “It sounds a bit trivial but it means a lot to people out here.

“All bread, fruit, cakes and ice cream were removed and stored away to stop people from having a snack if they were hungry.

“There were barriers put in place to stop people entering the galley and just recently someone was reprimanded for entering the galley out with meal times.

“It basically means we can’t get any form of food out with these times and when you are working for a three-week, sometimes four-week, period offshore you can become quite hungry due to the nature of our jobs.

“Some guys on the drilling side work a split shift to allow them to change from night shift to day shift. This entails working eight hour shifts which means they finish a shift at 10.30pm and can’t get anything to eat until 11.30pm which is when they should be in bed catching up on sleep.”

But BP say that the only time offshore catering facilities may be cordoned off is to allow for cleaning and food preparation.

A BP spokeswoman added: “It’s important to us that everyone working on our offshore assets is well looked after – for many, offshore can be home for half of the year.

“That’s exactly why we provide the very extensive catering choices that we do, which includes a varied breakfast menu and a choice of starters, three main meals options and a dessert for lunch and dinner.

“And we respond to feedback – the new catering contract we recently introduced to all our North Sea offshore assets brought back items that our teams told us they particularly wanted, including specific ice-cream brands, branded condiments and black pudding.

“We also secured confectionery items, which offshore colleagues can buy, at cost price rates.

“Food is available at four different times throughout the day – breakfast, lunch, dinner and also at midnight for the night shift crews. Between these times, some of our restaurants may be cordoned off to give the catering teams enough time clean and to prepare food for the next service.”

If you have issues  with  access  to food around your working practices offshore or your favourites  taken off the menu  get in touch with Unite and  campaign for the  oil companies and  contractors to put the workers before profit   access to food  which is  required to sustain workers  who are working in a high risk and hazard sector  working long shifts and  rotas.

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Give the Oil majors food for thought

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