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Old 21st Oct 2006, 09:12
  #1271 (permalink)  
Join Date: Dec 2003
Location: Lagos
Posts: 245
Thumbs down Still No Good News From Nigeria

How right you are! Since the CHC takeover of the overseas partner of Aero, they seem to have had a much more serious and positive attitude towards safety as mentioned by Tom Bola in his recent post (the one exception being the hugely stupid mistake of buying the East West Road Estate, which will surely cost them a number of staff in the future). It's noticeable that Bristow seem to have no proper health care facility in place in Nigeria, whilst CHC are using SOS International and CRI. Even Caverton supposedly have their staff with CRI . Presumably Bristow staff have to find a local hospital, which has probably not been audited by anyone from their head office in USA, and then take pot luck as to whether they receive good treatment or not. Aero moved away from that and over to SOS/SMI clinic many years ago. Bristow have no pension, loss of licence, headset purchase or computer scheme, all of which CHC claim gives at least 14% enhancement to the value of their salary.
There seem to be only 2 or 3 helicopters flying out of Eket each day at the moment and some Bristow crews on leave have gone sick - maybe waiting to see if some news of roster and salary changes will make them feel better again .
Surely this should be a wake-up call to all the companies operating in Nigeria to start taking the security and welfare of their staff here much more seriously. The oil companies, as usual, are trying to shift all responsibility from themselves to those companies contracting to them. If they wish to continue doing this, they'll have to accept that the contractors and their staff are out here to make money too, and eventually it is they (the oil companies) who will have to pay more to allow contracting companies fulfil their duty of care to their employees and still be able to make a profit.

All of this, of course, means nothing at the moment to the families and friends of the hostages taken from Eket and anything that comes will be too late to give them comfort. I just hope that everything possible is being done to secure their safe release and that efforts will be stepped up even more since the tragic death of one of them. In some previous hostage situations, the kidnappers have allowed the hostages to be visited by diplomatic or government staff and for medical aid to be brought in while negotiations were ongoing. I seem to remember that one of the Bristow crew hijacked in 1999 were even allowed deliveries of bottled water, a portable generator and a cooling fan (but I stand to be corrected on this). I hope that whoever is negotiating with these evil men is trying to get similar concessions to make their captivity more bearable.
Like NEO, I just hope that soon there will, for once, be some positive or good news here about what's happening in Nigeria - but I wouldn't bet any money on it
Tokunbo is offline