The chronicle about alternatives to helicopter transportation was originally published in Stavanger Aftenblad (in Norwegian) was also published by Offshore.no , and attracted a large amount of personal comments on the net.
Many of the comments indicate ignorance about the fact that vessel transportation is already used in some areas, even in some areas with quite hostile environmental conditions. There is also apparent ignorance about the alternatives for transfer of personnel from vessels to installations, it is wrong to assume that the transfer will be made using basket transfer, which will never be allowed on a regular basis. Heave compensated gangways have been used for some time.
Some of the comments also assume that vessel speed will be 10–15 knots, whereas the double probably would be nearer to what is required. Some of the same people who are so strongly opposed to using boats to installations, are probably amongst the regular customers of high speed ferry vessels between Kristiansand and Denmark across Skagerak. This route has a high regularity even during the winter, but has the obvious advantage that transfer to/from shore may take place in sheltered waters.
The vast majority of the comments are negative to vessel transportation. This tends to suggest that although the unions have been very vocal about employees’ dissatisfaction with safety whilst travelling to work, the majority of offshore employees are maybe rather satisfied with helicopter safety in general. Another aspect of the comments is related to the comfort of the Super Puma H225 helicopter, which apparently many are quite dissatisfied with. This may indicate that some of the comments about helicopter safety possibly really are caused by lack of comfort especially for the Super Puma H225 helicopter.
In any case it may still be appropriate to investigate the possibilities for using vessel transportation to some fields and installations, especially since previous evaluations were made about 30 years ago. It would in any case have to be a choice whether to use vessel or helicopter made by each employee, and it may not even be an open possibility during the most hostile winter months. It would probably also have to be restricted to where there are some installations with relatively short distance, such as the Statfjord-Gullfaks-Visund area.