In a bid to further promote Search, Rescue and Surveillance (SeRAS) in the oil and gas sector, Omni-Blu Aviation Limited, an indigenous aviation company, has partnered with the Department of Petroleum Resources (DPR) to provide the service to oil firms across the country.
Omni-Blu Aviation said it was partnering with DPR in the areas of licencing and technical supports, stressing that its experience over the years in the oil and gas sector and search and rescue services made it a force to reckon with in the provision of the service.
Speaking during the flag off of the SeRAS services at the Murtala Muhammed Airport (MMA), Lagos, the Managing Director, Omni-Blu Aviation, Captain James Daniel, said that the company remained the only company that had been authorised and approved by the Nigerian Civil Aviation Authority (NCAA) to operate ambulance services, stressing that SeRAS was an extension of that capability, which the company is bringing to the table.
Daniel explained that the partnership was the first phase of the exercise, saying that Omni-Blu was planning to acquire more aircraft, which would further enable it to provide more technical expertise to carry out the business.
According to him, Ombi-Blu would commence the SeRAS operation with two aircraft, while other airplanes would be added to its fleet to further expand the business, noting that the company was hoping to acquire additional three AW-139 aircraft.
“For example; If an oil rig experiences fire outbreak and you need to evacuate people from there, you have to start this with a severe risk assessment because there are risks to the lives already on the platform and there are also risks to those operating the machines. Therefore, the training levels are going to be top notch. The capabilities of the pilots will also be top notch.
“This is a three-man crew. We have two pilots and what we call the winch man. This requires some of the highest amount of team work because you are under extreme pressure and time constraint. So, it is very necessary that the team work seamlessly and as one.
“Search and rescue is more intricate. The helicopter will be able to come to the position, it will remain like in a high hover and we may have to winch people down, put them into baskets, winch them back up and come close to the water, amongst others. There are so many scenarios that only highly trained personnel can execute such a project. There is a centre for this operation here in Lagos, one in Osubi, one in Boni and two other centres.”
The Ombi-Blu boss insisted that as long as companies continue to excavate oil and gas, Nigeria and organisations in the sector would require the service.
According to him, the vision of the Chief Executive Officer of Ombi-Blu was to grow the vision into a regional support, emphasising that SeRAS had come to stay.
Also speaking at the occasion, Commissioner, Accident Investigation Bureau (AIB), Mr Akin Olateru described search and rescue as a big deal, which saves lives and properties and enhances productivity.
He advised countries around the world to take search and rescue more seriously, stressing that this was one of the roadmaps of the Minister of Aviation, Hadi Sirika.
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