Offshore regulator accepts 27 recommendations from chopper crash inquiry

The Canadian Press ~ The News
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Max Ruelokke, chairman and CEO of the CNLOPB. — Photo by Keith Gosse/The Telegram

The board that regulates oil activity off Newfoundland will make several changes in response to a helicopter safety inquiry.

The probe was called after Cougar Flight 491 crashed into the sea last year, killing 17 of 18 people onboard.

Inquiry head Robert Wells made 29 recommendations last month to improve the safety of helicopter travel to offshore oil platforms.

The Canada-Newfoundland and Labrador Offshore Petroleum Board says it accepts 27 of the 29 recommendations in full.

A recommendation to continue banning night flights is accepted except for medical emergencies and will be revisited when a fully equipped search and rescue chopper is certified.

Wells recommended a safety agency independent from the board to better protect workers and the environment, but that decision is up to federal and provincial governments.

The board says that recommendation has been referred to the province and Ottawa.

Organizations: Canada-Newfoundland and Labrador Offshore Petroleum Board

Geographic location: Newfoundland, Ottawa

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Recent comments

  • Just Go Away
    December 14, 2010 - 08:48

    Scott Free, not only do your opinions have no basis, but they are usually so far off point that it isn't even funny. I watched you babble on about Danny's retirement and how happy you were to see him go, never once offering a suitable replacement however and never accepting that he has been the best premier we have had, despite his short comings. Now we have to listen to your wieghtless opions on the helicopter inquiry as well. Give us a break bud! First of all, you obviously never spent a day offshore NL and have no idea what the C-NLOPB does. I am however, a former offshore worker spending time here in NL and overseas and can easily say, from experience unlike you, that NL has one of the safest offshore environments in this world...bar none. Keep in mind Scotty, the C-NLOPB originally began the inquiry, not the public. They could have easily sent their condolences to the families and moved on with business as usual. They instead sought improvements to their current safety regime. Unfortunately, Mr. wells was not the right man for this job and in my opinion the inquiry became a complete waste of time and tax payers money. For those of you who actually read the report, where is it that Mr. Wells gives justification for seperating the safety department from the board. The answer is no where because there is none. The UK did a similar seperation after the Piper Alpha incident. There has been 4 helicopter crashes since then. Did it stop these events....NO! Why then would there be a need to seperate...POLITICS! It is not the right decision, but the popular decision, because boobs like you air their oh so powerful opinions with zero background or research on the real issues...and government listens :) The remainder of the recommendations are directed at the helicopters which is no the boards problem but TRANSPORT CANADA's...why do they have no reprications?? The sad thing is, it is you who will pay for this new board you speak of. Remember now, nothing will have changed except the location and the fact that it is costing the public more. The C-NLOPB currently has a CSO who's decisions are independant of the board and who has vito power on all decisions if safety is at risk...did you relaize that? Please Scott, do us all a favor, just go away, stop writing your worthless opinions, and get off the couch and go to work for once!

  • Robert
    December 13, 2010 - 15:15

    Scott Free has it right. I'll add this; CNLOPB and Max copped out on the two recommendations they should recommend but didn't. Big money for Max and his cohorts with nothing of value to show for it.

  • Fintip
    December 13, 2010 - 14:13

    I'm sure Mark that most people understand why it is necessary to acknowledge that the enquiry resulted from an air disaster that killed 17 people. But for your benefit, it is to lay the foundation for an update of the story and to ensure that there is an element of continuity. Most people do know what happened but some forget and others - people moving into the province and young people less conversant with current events for example - might not know the background. It is never a bad thing to remind people about tragedies. It makes it less likely they will be repeated. It is true that families don't need reminding. Whether or not there is another story about it in the press, there is never a day that goes by that they don't think about it. It is the nature of grief. I suspect most if not all families and friends of the victims are heartened by the knowledge that the tragedy has not been forgotten by the general public and, more importantly, that steps are being taken to ensure their loss need not be borne by other families in the future. That said, the feds need to hurry up their approval for the creation of an independent safety board as recommended by Robert Wells.

  • Mark
    December 13, 2010 - 10:59

    Why do we have to be reminded about the crash of Cougar Flt 491 with every story printed about the enquiry or about Sikorsky or the ongoing lawsuits involved...etc . Everyone knows what happened . The family,friends and co-workers do not need reminding every time. It's hard enough to deal with as it is!

  • Scott Free
    December 13, 2010 - 10:18

    The CNLOPB had no choice but to accept the recommendations of the Wells Inquiry; too bad it didn't have the will and desire to develop and implement them on its own accord rather than waiting for a disaster to happen to snap to reality and realize that its primary mandate should have been worker safety all along and not a social club for big oil. Maybe the next agency created to protect oil industry workers and the environment would focus on being pro-active rather than reactive and serve a real purpose and ensure that big oil has more than profits on its agenda.