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SEPTEMBER 2001 NEWSLETTER

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Further news on the BP Jigsaw

BP has awarded Bristows Helicopter with the contract for the trials of Operation Jigsaw and it is said that Bristows will outfit a Super Puma for the task. It should be noted that the last time we produced news on this topic was in November 2000. At that time it was said that the time it would take to prepare the helicopter would be 15 months and the time for the trials would be six months.

If this timing remains correct then the helicopter will be ready at the end of 2002 and the trials will therefore be completed in the middle of 2003. This is obviously a long term project.

Opponents of the scheme were heartened last month when persistent fog over the central and northern North Sea grounded almost all helicopters for several days. "How on earth could the Jigsaw scheme work under these conditions,"  they said. And they have a point. The owners of the of the hotels and guest houses in the city were also extremely pleased, but for entirely different reasons.

There is an interesting footnote to this story, which may in time become a story itself. The HSE are now taking a dim view of the use of the Billy Pugh - or personnel basket because the say that it does not conform to the LOLER Regulations, and if this device is not to be used in the future the possibility of using ships to move personnel in persistent foggy conditions is reduced. This device apparently does not conform to American legislative requirements either. Those interested in finding out more about the Billy Pugh, including how it got its name should try searching  the internet.

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