Saturday, 24 August 2013

Bad times in the North Sea

I had something frivolous and frothy planned for this morning but given the circumstance... http://www.bbc.co.uk/Offshore Chopper Crash... I don't feel that that would be appropriate.

Obviously I wouldn't want to wade in with stupid ill-advised and even more ill-informed opinions as happens all too often with an event like this.  One only has to look back on the reaction to Lee Rigby's murder to see people do not think right when given the bare outline of a vastly emotive story.  Just go onto Farcebook and see what I mean!  This morning alone I have seen calls for the banning of chopper flights to offshore installations, the use of planes for getting workers to and from platforms and the immediate cessation of all offshore working!
All excellent suggestions in la-la land but short of boat transfers for everyone adding days to trips, impossible to construct roll-out runways attached to platforms or power cuts for 22 hours a day I don't see any of them as the answer.

Instead I'd like to convey the impact such an event has on the offshore community and the general pall that has descended on us all.

We heard the news at around 19.50 last night and there was the usual scramble to get the news channels on, Sky had one of their all-to numerous ad breaks on the go so we chose to watch the BBC News channel and it came up as the first item.  Obviously this was a just breaking news story so the details weren't entirely clear.  But everyone who was within range stopped to check it out.  The same questions are asked when something like this happens and they are being repeated all-too-often for my liking.

'What type of chopper was it?'
'Where was it going to/from?' And perhaps worst of all...
'I wonder if there was anyone I know on board?'

The news has been drip feeding its way through as it usually does but all the while the knot in your stomach never seems to untie fully.  There is a strange atmosphere which accompanies news such as this, it tends to suck the joy out a place like being winded in a public play park, you don't really want to show how hurt you are but you have to get time to recover.
While there are still laughs echoing from various areas, they don't quite sound right, as if they've been recorded onto an MP3 player and played back to you (and we all know how crap the sound quality of MP3's is).

I have been offshore for each of the last three incidents now and the reaction is always the same, the nearest thing I can compare it to is hearing of the death of a family member whom you just can't place.  You know something is wrong but the only thing you can do is continue as best you can.
Incidents will happen, Aberdeen is the busiest Heliport in the world with flights all day nearly every day of the year.  The best thing is to live your life and enjoy the hell out of your time off!!!

RIP