Bristow Helicopters (Nigeria) has announced a new helicopter rescue and recovery (RRS) service for Nigeria’s oil and gas industry.
Bristow said on Tuesday that the new service, expected to launch in August 2016, will provide life-saving assistance, currently not available in the country’s aviation landscape.
Interim Regional Director Africa Captain Akin Oni said: “Bristow operates the civilian search and rescue helicopter service in the UK on behalf of HM Coastguard, having been awarded the ten-year UK SAR contract by the Department for Transport in March 2013, and we will utilize our global expertise to provide safe and reliable service in Nigeria.
“This new rescue and recovery service is a natural extension of our business transporting personnel offshore that we’ve provided in Nigeria for more than 50 years, and demonstrates our continued long-term commitment to the country.”
To remind, one of Bristow’s helicopters crashed in Lagos, Nigeria last year killing six people on board, including Bristow’s flight crew. The helicopter was returning from an offshore drilling rig.
According to Bristow, the company will deliver the new service from its base at Port Harcourt, which is located to transport resources quickly to oil installations in the area.
The company will dedicate a Leonardo AW139 helicopter to the operation, equipped with technology for search and rescue missions, including forward looking infrared (FLIR) camera technology, dual hoist and mission management capabilities. The aircraft is painted in red and white livery, distinguishing it from other aircraft that transport personnel to offshore production platforms and drilling rigs.
Bristow Helicopters plans to add subsequent service from Lagos as soon as the second AW139 becomes operational, which is expected by year’s end. Both Port Harcourt and Lagos will offer night medical evacuation services, the company said.
Bristow added that pilots, technical crew, paramedics, engineers and ground crew are already at the Port Harcourt base and will spend the next couple of months training in the area in preparation for the service launch.
Captain Ibrahim Mamman, Head of the National Emergency Management Agency (NEMA) Special Air Operations Unit said: “We are happy that Bristow has provided a service complementary to ours. Collaboration is critical. Every support is required in SAR and it should be commended. It is important that efforts such as theirs are supported by their customers, predominantly the oil and gas industry.”
Captain Samuel Akinyele Caulcrick, Rector, Nigerian College of Aviation Technology said: “Search and Recovery System is an integral component of air operations and transport.”