On 3 November 2022, the Dutch Coast Guard officially took delivery of two new search and rescue (SAR) helicopters. The helicopters will give the Coast Guard better capabilities to respond appropriately to incidents at sea. Element NL is therefore pleased with the new acquisition.
Large capacity and extensive capabilities
The SAR helicopters are both AgustaWestland 189s and can accommodate 19 passengers in addition to the crew. The aircraft type is ordinarily crewed by two pilots, a winch operator, a rescue swimmer, and a paramedic. The aircraft are deployed for search and rescue, medical evacuations, and offshore vessel firefighting operations.
Cooperation with Coast Guard is vital
The SAR helicopters are also the last resort in the event of a major incident on board an offshore platform, such as a fire or well blowout. This would require the rapid evacuation of the personnel from the platform, the water, or their rescue craft.
Element NL believes cooperation between the energy sector and the Coast Guard is vital in the increasingly crowded North Sea.
Joint emergency response exercises
Since 2009, Element NL and its predecessor NOGEPA have facilitated a large-scale offshore emergency response exercise (OFFEX) every two years to improve cooperation in response to incidents. During OFFEX 2022, which Element NL member Dana Petroleum recently organised, the exercise involved the simulation of a collision between a large vessel and a platform. The exercise will be evaluated on 24 November 2022 during a session with all operators and agencies involved.