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What's New In W. Africa (Nigeria)

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What's New In W. Africa (Nigeria)

Old 9th Aug 2006, 17:57
  #981 (permalink)  
Join Date: Mar 2005
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Sorry Ladies ...please insert "or her" as appropriate to my last post!
N Arslow is offline  
Old 9th Aug 2006, 18:21
  #982 (permalink)  
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A significant number of Shell's Aviation Advisors came from within the ranks of Bristow. Leopoards find it hard to change their spots and I would assume Shell being a very large corporation, changes start at the top and not from the bottom. Thus, major changes seldom occur. Combine that with varying degrees of safety standards as applied within the same oil company worldwide and one has an uphill fight improving the applied standard.

One example, Texaco got taken over by Chevron in Nigeria. Immediately upon that happening, the Texaco twin engine only rule went away and Jetrangers replaced 355's as the minimum aircraft.
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Old 9th Aug 2006, 19:23
  #983 (permalink)  
Join Date: Jul 2006
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Do you want a $5 or $25 argument .....

Safety is paramount - now we all know that is not exactly true .... safety is an assessment of the risk or hazard of a particular action and application of affordable measures to reduce such risk or hazard to an acceptable level or exposure time.

The Aviation Advisor is there to impose his (or her) company's policies which in turn will reduce any possible litigation against said company by any employee after an unfortunate, dare I say the word, accident. This can lead to ex pilots and engineers, now turned advisor, losing all common-sense and imposing at times some of the most illogical, impractical practices in order to suggest they are doing their job overseeing us.

Africa has experienced many years where the customer was very happy to accept a cheaper aircraft and lower levels of safety because we jointly ignored any standards which may have been happening in the wider world in the interest of continuing to make exploration possible (in the eyes of the financiers).

Now Aviation Advisors out here are starting to ask "Why aren't these ac up to proper standard?" As if it is our fault alone! They dislike the accusation of lack of investment in safety. So we should embrace their current obscene profits, if not to line our own pockets , then surely to renew ageing and obsolete equipments in which they now seem to want to invest!
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Old 9th Aug 2006, 20:19
  #984 (permalink)  
Join Date: Jul 2006
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tistisnot - Its nice to hear others highlight the hypocritical nature of some so called 'aviation advisors'. If a company like BP has to shut off 400000 barrels a day ($30 million a day) because they can't maintain their oil pipes and Shell can't maintain a staircase on a platform, it makes a mockery of some of the more 'creative' oil company potifications on aviation safety.

From the London Times today:
After the 1988 Piper Alpha disaster, Lord Cullen concluded in his inquiry that risk should be “as low as reasonably practicable”. Anecdotes from the oil industry suggest that during the 1998-2000 oil price collapse, cynicism had reached such a level at some companies that executives jokingly said that the test was not ALARP but ALACC — as low as currently convenient.
Ironically some of their over zealous meddling is just putting their fingerprints all over the next accident...

N Arslow / SASless - The big oil companies pay the company men well and so most of the advisors have a certain short-sightedness to the oil company's own shortcomings.

Its funny how some of the European CAAs treat the oil companies as highly responsible safety gods. They've obviously never been to the dark contenent.

No doubt the bigoil spin machine will now activate...
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Old 10th Aug 2006, 01:53
  #985 (permalink)  
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The Kidnapping goes on...and on....and on.....

Latest news on kidnappings in Nigeria.....

Militants in Nigeria unrelenting in their attack on oil workers, kidnap four more

by Joel Olatunde AgoiWed Aug 9, 3:12 PM ET

Militants in Nigeria's southern oil-rich Niger Delta region have kidnapped two Norwegians and two Ukrainians, adding them to a growing list of victims in an unrelenting series of attacks on foreign oil workers.

The two Norwegians and two Ukrainians were working on an oil supply vessel in Nigeria when they were kidnapped, the Norwegian government and the ship operators said.

With this latest kidnap, there are now at least eight foreign oil workers held hostage by militants in several places in the volatile region in the past week.

The ambassador of Norway in Nigeria, Tore Nedreboe, told Norwegian radio, that he hoped that that the saga of the latest kidnappings would come to a happy ending "within 24 hours."

"Contacts have been established with the local community in Niger Delta responsible for the kidnap...it seems that an accord is in sight," he told the radio.

The latest four oil workers were kidnapped late Tuesday while they were on a Norwegian offshore supply vessel," operated by Trico Supply, foreign ministry spokesman Frode Andersen told AFP.

"This spate of kidnappings is outrageous and ridiculous. These brigands just kidnap at will for ransom or for play. This is not good for Nigeria's image," a senior government official, who demanded anonymity, told AFP.

US-owned Trico Supply confirmed the abductions, the latest in a series of foreign oil workers in Nigeria, and said no ransom demand had been made.

A senior executive with a major oil group in Nigeria, who demanded anonymity, confirmed the incident but said he could not give any details.

"We learnt some Europeans aboard a foreign oil vessel have been kidnapped. The information is still sketchy," he told AFP here.

Nigerian security agents said they were still verifying the abductions while navy spokesman Obiora Medani told AFP: "There is no such report yet. But we shall find out."

The latest kidnapping comes barely a week after four other oil workers -- a German and three Filipinos -- were taken prisoner by militants in the troubled region.

The whereabouts of the men were still unknown Wednesday after spending between five and six days in capitivity.

Last Thursday, a German employee of oil service firm Bilfinger and Berger was kidnapped along with his driver in the southern oil city of Port Harcourt, while three Filipinos working on a multi-billion-dollar liquefied gas project were abducted the following day at nearby Bonny Island, near Port Harcourt.

A previously unknown Movement for the Niger Delta People (MONDP) claimed responsibility for kidnapping the German, identified as Didone Shephard.

MONDP said he would be freed if two Niger Delta leaders, former Bayelsa State governor Diepreye Alamieyeseigha and regional warlord Mujahid Dokubo-Asari who are standing trial for corruption and treason felony in Abuja, were released.

No group has claimed to be holding the Filipinos, employed by Baker Overseas Technology Services, a contractor of Nigeria Liquefied Natural Gas (NLNG).

Since January, militants have launched violent attacks on oil facilities and personnel in the region to press demands for local control of Nigeria's multi-billion-dollar oil and gas wealth.

More than 30 expatriate oil workers have been kidnapped in the past seven months and were released after spending days or sometimes weeks in captivity.

Nigeria is Africa's biggest oil producer, accounting for a daily output of 2.6 million barrels, but 25 percent of that figure has been lost to unrest since the beginning of the year.
From a Guardian article....


The Niger delta is already classified by international agencies as a danger zone on a par with Chechnya and Colombia. The number of guns in circulation has increased dramatically since 2003, the year the last presidential elections were held. Those elections were widely condemned as being rigged, with armed gangs seizing ballot boxes and intimidating voters.
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Old 11th Aug 2006, 08:36
  #986 (permalink)  
Join Date: Jan 2006
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Light helis in Senegal area

Closest R44 or AS350 in the Senagal area for a two week photography contract.

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Old 11th Aug 2006, 09:48
  #987 (permalink)  
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Thumbs down Nigeria - the Crisis Worsens

Things are getting worse on an almost daily basis i the Niger Delta of Nigeria, where the main Bristow and CHC bases are situated.
Yesterday 2 more expatriates workers were kidnapped in Port Harcourt. American construction company, Willbros announced that they are to pull out of Nigeria because of losses and difficulty in being able to continue working in the country. Willbros has been here for more than 30 years and is the major pipeline construction company in the Niger delta.
Today Julius Berger, the German construction giant announced that it is immediately pulling out of the Niger delta and riverine areas of Nigeria. They do a large amount of construction work in the area and the economic impact of this will be fairly major. Already the Governor of Bayelsa state has warned community leaders who give shelter to the militants carrying out kidnappings and acts of violence against oil workers that he will no longer tolerate it and that if it continues they can expect a major military action in the area.
There are presently 10 expatriate workers being held by various groups in and around Port Harcourt.
What has the reaction to this been by Bristow and CHC? Um, nothing
Bristow staff are housed in Woji in a nice estate which was chosen because it was cheap. It was cheap because it's in a dangerous area where most people don't want to live. I don't see any of their top management wanting to relocate from Lagos to there . CHC are now talking about moving to a nice new estate on the dangerous East West road in Port Harcourt. But it's okay, because Nigeria is paradise according to higher levels of management. That's probably why the Incentive Pay remained unchanged in their enormous 4% pay rise
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Old 12th Aug 2006, 13:10
  #988 (permalink)  
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Do any of you guys know anything about the Mainland Hotel in Lagos? When we were in Nigeria I worked for the Leventis Group and they owned the Mainland. We could stay there for nothing because that's what it was worth. It did have a pretty good chinese restaraunt on the second or third floor but other than that it was pretty old and bad. A friend of mine called yesterday that worked with us over there and we got around to the Mainland, just wondering if it was still there? I don't think I'll ever forget the smell of Nigeria.

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Old 14th Aug 2006, 10:13
  #989 (permalink)  
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Danger Take Care

Things continue to escalate in the Niger Delta. All pilots should be very careful
Three kidnapped Filipino workers who were kidnapped 10 days ago on Bonny Island were released this morning.
However, several expatriates (numbers as yet unknown, some sources saying 4, others as many as 15) were kidnapped from a well known karaoke bar in Port Harcourt last night. Many shots were fired and one of the hostages is reported to have been injured. Reports are confusing, but there was a lot of shooting outside Agip along the fence between Agip and UST, during which one MOPOL was critically injured (and remember that a number of MOPOL were killed inside the Agip base 6 months ago). The firing may have been the kidnapped expatriates being taken to Eagle Island so they could be removed in boats as seems to be the norm at present.
Control Risks advises against non-essential travel to the Niger delta, where security and travel risks are rated at HIGH. The security environment in the region will remain volatile and further militant attacks, including kidnaps, are possible. An escalation in attacks across the region is expected ahead of the elections scheduled for 2007. Companies are advised to implement
maximum security measures, including reviewing and updating evacuation procedures in Rivers, Delta and Bayelsa states.
Hopefully Bristow and CHC will now start to really take the security of their staff more seriously. We are an important ingredient in Nigeria's largest assett, so maybe the Nigerian government should also start thinking seriously about our protection in the cities as well as at the flow stations (okay, I know, fat chance ). Think twice before you venture out after dark. I expect most companies will ban movement of expatriates outside compounds at night anyway, and yet again the terrorists will have succeeded in making our lives more dangerous, miserable and uncomfortable. If so, companies like Bristow and (even more) CHC must do more to make life inside camps and compounds more bearable in terms of leisure facilities and/or pay considerably more danger pay (or whatever they want to call it) than they do now. It may not be called civil war here yet, but it sure as hell is some kind of a war zone
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Old 14th Aug 2006, 11:03
  #990 (permalink)  
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Yeow....Mama Put......whats happening with that shining pearl of a helicopter company Caverton? Did they sell their A109E Yet? Is the hanger floor still like the Atlantic Ocean on a Gale Force 9 Day? Who are the pilots and are they still paying 120,000 to the Director of Operations?
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Old 14th Aug 2006, 11:55
  #991 (permalink)  
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All together now:

'Told you so!'

There's a well-known effect, when anti-terror, anti-crime, call them what you will, measures lag behind the threat level. The reaction is to the previous threat level but meanwhile the bad guys aren't stupid (just bad, misguided, underprivileged, oppressed...) and ramp up the threat level.

Remember how they put all those measure into effect around Warri to prevent helicopters being hijacked? The next thing was that helo being taken near Port Harcourt and then flown to a place near Warri. D'oh!

In the German papers it reads that Bilfinger and Berger are pulling out of operations in the Delta. That will be an encouraging reaction, for the bad guys. Grab just one German and it's panic stations. You could grab all the Filipinos you like; there are plenty more where they came from. Ditto Indians. So there are two categories of people you might as well leave alone since there's no money in it. Anyone want to bet the next thing will be nationality checks from the abductors?

There's lots more that I can see in my crystal ball that just isn't good to talk about. It's like that joke about the guy laid in the guillotine who tells the operators how to fix the jam.

I wonder who will be the first to bite the bullet and hire some serious security contractor? It would be such a crazy idea for all the operators and contractees to get together and do something where they share the cost of that. That might end up costing about $10 per ex-pat, I suppose. You could buy two Toyota Land Cruisers for that sort of money. All you would-be union organisers, how about working on that one?

Meanwhile I am sat here gribbling away at getting a licence/job. The gruesome realities reported here sure help keep me from feeling sorry for myself for being shut out of the fun, at least for now.
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Old 14th Aug 2006, 12:08
  #992 (permalink)  
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Rivers State Government has just announced that there is a curfew starting tonight from 1800 to 0600.

The BBC now has more news of the latest kidnappings:

Four foreign workers were kidnapped by a group of armed men from a nightclub in Port Harcourt in southern Nigeria on Sunday evening.
It is the fifth kidnapping in the oil-rich Niger Delta in two weeks.

In most cases, hostages are released unharmed, usually after a financial deal is struck, but analysts say the ransom payments fuel the violence.

On Monday, three kidnapped Filipino oil workers were released after being held for 10 days.

A rise in attacks in recent months by militants, seeking more local control of the Niger Delta's rich oil resources, has cut Nigeria's oil production by 25%.

Reports say gunmen entered a bar in Port Harcourt popular with foreign oil workers and went around asking people their nationality and who was their employer.

They then took four people, thought to be Westerners, which would secure the kidnappers a higher ransom.

The Delta is awash with weapons, unemployment is high and communities feel aggrieved at the lack of development.

Armed groups have proliferated, often linked to local politicians.

Industry sources say hostage-taking has become an attractive business.

The BBC's Alex Last in Nigeria says the money is often used to buy weapons and there are fears that the various often competing groups are trying to strengthen their positions ahead of elections early next year.
I guess if they were asking who employers were, Bristow and CHC employees would have been safe because they would know that their employers are cheapskates who wouldn't pay anything . After all, it would be easy enough to get more pilots out to Nigeria because both companies are awash with spare pilots volunteering to go to Nigeria for the rich financial rewards

No danger to Caverton as most of their pilots now are either locals or from third-world countries anyway. I guess that the prospect for working for the world's center of helicopter excellence and wearing pointy shoes just isn't enough to overcome their attractive roster for less money than the other companies are paying for 7/5 or 6/6. The DO is still an American and 2 Brits in engineering management from when you were there.
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Old 14th Aug 2006, 13:37
  #993 (permalink)  
Join Date: Sep 2003
Location: Alaska
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I still remember when one of the Indian pilots for Gulf Heli's was kidnapped in Yemen. The kidnappers released him since they knew that no one would pay ransom for an Indian. I think it was Duleep, but not sure of that anymore. He took a lot of grief over being the only pilot every to be released for no value...lol

Ask the caveman about it..he was in Doha at the time....
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Old 14th Aug 2006, 15:10
  #994 (permalink)  
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Think you'll find that it's not actually a curfew, just a recommendation for now. Obviously though, the situation's heated up more than usual and everyone needs to maintain a low profile for the time being.
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Old 14th Aug 2006, 15:15
  #995 (permalink)  
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Now that brings up a scary thought....imagine being a American working for a British firm in Nigeria on a contract for Total and being taken hostage!

How does that song go...."and no one to go my Bail...."!

Did not JB go on leave a day after one crew got taken.....someone correct me if I am wrong on that?
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Old 14th Aug 2006, 16:06
  #996 (permalink)  
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If JB had crystal balls like chuks, he would have gone on leave a day before that guy's been taken.
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Old 14th Aug 2006, 18:16
  #997 (permalink)  
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Let me check...

Nope, they are not made of crystal but then it doesn't take that to see past the end of the nose, eh?

Here it would seem we can cue the sound of chickens coming home to roost. Years of abuse of the unhappy indigenes of the Niger Delta, years of neglect of basic security measures while chasing the quick buck, years of guys just like me being willing, proud even, to take a chance.... Hmmm.

We were passing that garbage dump that used to decorate the road to Elelenwo one evening when I thought to remark on the size of the chickens up there picking over the choicest bits.

The hostie replied, 'Ah, Captain! Those are not chickens!'

'They aren't?'

'Ah, no! They are vultures!'

'My goodness! No wonder the eggs tasted so strange.' Cue one very long silence during the remaining journey.

When I first came to Nigeria back in the early Eighties I got a ride out to the beach near Escravos in a Bell 47. After we landed I got out to find myself standing on this rather weird, rubbery stratum. It reminded me of the peat you find on some of the beaches in New England, but I knew it wasn't that. Too, there was this pervading stench of crude oil.

It was explained to me that this is what you get when you soak beach sand in crude oil. It sure made for a nasty environment and I guess the folks around us were expected to scrape out a living as fishermen while living there. Now the Bell 47 has mostly passed into history and I bet landing on the beach near Escravos has done the same.
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Old 14th Aug 2006, 18:35
  #998 (permalink)  
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Clairvoyance and Chuks...

No fear....Chuks will soon be propped up at his favorite perch in the BRC...holding forth in his own way...building points with the Dino's...and furthering the inter-relationships that go with the turf. No doubt he will be polishing his German with the able assistance of his mentor there.

We will be looking for some "Man on the Street" reports when he does find his way home again to Lagos.
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Old 14th Aug 2006, 19:29
  #999 (permalink)  
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Ai vish to wolunteer...

Actually, I was kinda hoping my local nemesis would find it in his heart to volunteer to take the place of his fellow countryman. Or perhaps I should point out the hidden value in a yet another guy with a German passport? Anyone out there listening in? Hello MEND!

To look at him you wouldn't give two cents for him, but as a captive?

Of course if things dragged on a bit you might find a few of his captors dying of boredom after having to listen yet again to how nice and shiny the brake disks on a Porsche 911 will stay after months of storage.

Allegedly a certain helicopter pilot was let go because he had eaten his captors out of house and home. After they ran out of chickens and goats they gave up on that one as a bad deal.

We could be looking at a new development here. Well, several of them. Either carry a passport from the Philippines or India or somewhere like that. Sri Lanka, anyone? Or else sport such a personality that no sane person would choose to abduct you for any price. Actually, I think I should be fairly safe, come to think of that.

The last time things came to a difficult pass I was sent for trauma counselling by the Shell doctor after being one of the subjects of some rather clumsy shooting by the Isolo Gun Club. We ended up just comparing notes about 'armed robberies we have seen,' when his experience sounded much worse than mine.

Then he gave me some little white pills I still have around here somewhere. It was not made clear to me if they were some of those CIA-issue ones you were supposed to use to keep you from blabbing or what. I should try them on the mother-in-law, perhaps.
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Old 14th Aug 2006, 21:14
  #1000 (permalink)  
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Actually it was not the mess bill that turned the event but the bar bill....somethng about averaging two cases of Star a day for each pilot as I recall.

Actually Chuks, you now have a new weapon in yer kit bag....."Belt Up, you bug.ger or I'll donate a few Bob to the local MEND chapter and buy you a "Reality" holiday in the swamps south of Warri!"

'Course the MEND boys would have to make it a punishment assignment for those who had to guard him.
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