HC Deb 28 January 1987 vol 109 c258W
Mr. Eadie

asked the Secretary of State for Energy what information he has about the practice of leaving functioning North sea oil rigs unmanned overnight or for longer periods; what assessment has been made of the safety implications of allowing the first helicopter when the rig is reoccupied to land without the benefit of a helicopter landing officer or standby fire fighting cover; and if he will make a statement.

Mr. Buchanan-Smith

Unmanned platforms, of which there have been a number in the North sea from the beginning of the production phase in 1968, are designed to operate in that way and safety is taken into account during design. Both equipment and working procedures are considered for each individual platform in accordance with its functions. Such platforms are constantly monitored by telemetry from a nearby installation or from onshore. Those responsible for this monitoring are in communication with any aircraft landing or taking off.

The persons who are first off the helicopter, and last on for the return journey, are trained for this work and will provide the helideck control of the landing officer and will man the fire-fighting equipment.