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UK pilots’ union calls for independent enquiry

North-SeaUK pilots’ union BALPA has called for an independent judicial inquiry into North Sea helicopter safety in evidence to the House of Commons Transport Select Committee.

Captain Colin Milne, the Chairman of BALPA’s Helicopter Affairs Committee, presented evidence to the Committee’s inquiry into helicopter safety at 15.00 today, Monday, 27 January 2014 at the Committee’s oral evidence session in Aberdeen.BALPA believes that an independent judicial inquiry into offshore helicopter safety is needed in order to properly examine the role and power of the oil companies who charter services from the helicopter companies and to examine the effectiveness of the regulation of the industry.

Jim McAuslan, BALPA General Secretary, said, “In the last seven years there have been six accidents in the North Sea; that’s six too many.  A thorough independent judicial inquiry is needed to understand what’s going wrong in the UK, especially compared with the situation in Norway where there appears to be a better safety record.

“The hundreds of pilots flying the North Sea offshore day-in, day-out want everything put under the microscope and examined objectively including whether ‘light-touch’ regulation is right for this safety-critical industry which is so vital to the UK’s prosperity.”