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What's New In W. Africa (Nigeria)

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What's New In W. Africa (Nigeria)

Old 18th Oct 2006, 23:40
  #1261 (permalink)  
 
Join Date: Oct 1999
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Age: 53
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"The tactic worked, but to try that again might see an unarmed helicopter being shot at"

They already have been, fortunately without the benefit of any mastery of deflection aiming
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Old 19th Oct 2006, 07:01
  #1262 (permalink)  
 
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When NEO suggests the old Sasless would be welcome now in Nigeria....I know things are desparate.....really desparate!


There is no queue of experienced, typed pilots worth hiring that are standing in line for a job with Bristow in Nigeria....anyone that believes that should buy this piece of land I have for sale down in Florida.
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Old 19th Oct 2006, 13:26
  #1263 (permalink)  
 
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Paradise awaits all CHC employees in PH

CHC have purchased an old compound on the East West road. They want to move all residents there and to vacate the current accommodation in the Areta estate. The East West road is well known for robberies, hijackings, muggings and is an area to avoid particularly during the hours of darkness. The compound has not been used for some time. I wonder why? The compound would in effect be a prison camp because it would not be worth the risk to venture out except to go to work with an armed escort. Two nights ago when the engineers late shift left work they had to take a detour out of NAF base due to gunfire from the direction of the East West road. The CHC expats are dead against the move and already the first pilot is about to change employment as a result. Yesterday the recently employed security officer attempted to persuade the expats that their fears were groundless and that they had nothing to worry about. He failed so miserably that he in fact persuaded them of the complete opposite. In a poll held afterwards there was a resounding vote against the move.

What will the CHC management do about it? Any guesses?
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Old 20th Oct 2006, 06:34
  #1264 (permalink)  
 
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Thumbs down Think of the Eket Hostages

Please take time at some time today to spare a thought for the 7 hostages violently kidnapped in Eket, now starting their third week in captivity. These include one Bristow pilot and one engineer. There has been little information about them in the news, though I believe that their companies, Exxon/Mobil and the government are involved in discussions with their abductors. It's reported that the group who took them are arguing amongst themselves about how they're going to split the ransom money. I pray for a speedy and safe return to freedom for all of them.
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Old 20th Oct 2006, 07:41
  #1265 (permalink)  
 
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"It's reported that the group who took them are arguing amongst themselves about how they're going to split the ransom money"
Abductors arguing amongst themselves; yes, that's a barrel of laughs to be mixed in with. Especially after they've had a few palm wines and a spliff or ten.
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Old 20th Oct 2006, 11:02
  #1266 (permalink)  
 
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Well said Mama Mangrove.

They are in my mind first thing when I wake and go straight to see whether there's any news online, on my mind during the day and at night, the last thing I do before bed is check if there is any news. I'm sure I'm not alone in keeping a remote vigil.

My thoughts are with the hostages and their families.
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Old 20th Oct 2006, 21:46
  #1267 (permalink)  
 
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Thumbs down One Hostage Has Died

There are, as yet unconfirmed, stories that one of the hostages abducted from Eket, a British employee of Sparrows, has died, possibly of malaria, in captivity. Those who abducted him, were responsible for him whilst he was held by them .
My sympathy goes out to his family, and I just hope and pray that the families of the remaining 6 captives will soon have better news and be reunited.
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Old 20th Oct 2006, 21:53
  #1268 (permalink)  

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This is indeed tragic news. My thoughts and prayers with the hostages and their families. I had been hoping this particular rumour would turn out to have been wrong and didn't post it. However these are the real risks and being held hostage for so long certainly adds grave fears.
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Old 21st Oct 2006, 01:27
  #1269 (permalink)  

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FEARS were last night growing for the safety of four Scottish oil workers kidnapped in Nigeria, amid reports one has died.

George McLean, 42, of Elgin, Paul Smith, of Peterhead, Sandy Cruden and Graeme Buchan of Inverurie in Aberdeenshire were taken hostage by members of the Niger Delta Frontier Force (NDFF) two weeks ago.

No further details have been released, but a Foreign and Commonwealth Office spokeswoman said it was "greatly concerned" by the reports.

The government has been working with Nigerian officials since the four men who were working for the United States oil company Exxon Mobil were abducted in the southern state of Akwa Ibom. It is believed the kidnappers have demanded 21 million for the release of the men, but diplomatic sources refused to give in to demands.

"We are getting reports that one of the hostages has been killed," the FCO spokeswoman said. "It may be some time before we're able to confirm one way or the other. We're greatly concerned with these reports and are in close touch with the Nigerian authorities, the men's families and their employers.

"Everything is being done that can be done to try to secure the safe release of the hostages. Full consular support is being provided to the families."

The British oil workers, three of whom are employees of the Aberdeen-based contractor Sparrows Offshore, were abducted together with a Romanian, a Malaysian and an Indonesian - all working for the US oil giant. Terry McNeill, speaking for Sparrows Offshore, said: "We have been working very closely with the UK Foreign Office and with the Nigerian authorities to secure an early release for the men and that process is continuing.

"In parallel, we are keeping in close contact with their families here at home. We're trying to support them as best we can. I can confirm that three of the hostages are employees of this company.

"Everything that can be done is being done to get these men safe home soon. It is dangerous to speculate at this point."

The NDFF gang shot dead two security guards when they stormed the bar in the Exxon Mobil contractor's compound.

Last night, the parents of Mr Smith, who had been working in Nigeria for about a year, refused to make any comments.

The kidnappings follow months of horrific violence in the Niger Delta area. Shell has already shut down a 9,000 barrels-a-day oil platform amid ferocious fighting.

Eighteen British nationals have been kidnapped this year in six, separate incidents. Kidnappings generally end peacefully, with hostages returned unharmed.

Britain's foreign ministry has advised against all but essential travel to the Nigerian province of Akwa Ibom after the kidnapping of the four British oil workers.
Source http://news.scotsman.com/scotland.cfm?id=1557872006

Let us pray that the report is not right, and that they are still all released unharmed.
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Old 21st Oct 2006, 06:15
  #1270 (permalink)  

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Interesting Times......

A lot going on at the moment, most of it bad. No news on the BGI "deal" yet, but this is one promise that can't be broken if Bristow are to have any chance of staying in business here. Nyashes on seats pays the bills, all of them

The contract margins may be too small to give a real "offer you can't refuse" deal, but whose fault is that ?? Whoever negotiated them maybe ?? Pilot versus career multinational contract shark..... Hmmmm, as Chuks and his countrymen might say, it's a no brainer Maybe that will change in future with the newish broom and business philosophy.

Hostages still away, my heart goes out to them and their families. If the story above proves correct the whole picture takes on a new dimension. Being held as a business venture has got to be unpleasant, but death puts a different complexion on life in Nigeria for all.

East West Road is starting to look like Ellelenwo except worse. A gilded cage. Nice inside but don't go out !! Rumoured that Bristow are waiting for the vacant Arreta houses so Woji can be put to rest once and for all. Ups and downs then ?? Maybe some crossing over the other way for a change ? Greener grass perhaps, at least for a while until things again.

Let's see !!

Cheers,

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

NEO,
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
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Old 21st Oct 2006, 15:05
  #1272 (permalink)  

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ABUJA, Oct 21 (Reuters) - All seven foreign hostages who were being held in Nigeria's southern oil producing Niger Delta have been released and are in good health, police said on Saturday.

The men were four Britons, one Romanian, one Malaysian and one Indonesian. They were kidnapped on Oct. 3 from a residential compound for contractors working for Exxon Mobil
Source: http://www.alertnet.org/thenews/newsdesk/L21742798.htm

If this is right, and I surely hope it is, then I am delighted beyond belief for the hostages and their families.

I do hope that the local authorities and expats don't slip into complacent ways and will now take such threats and risks seriously.
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Old 21st Oct 2006, 15:05
  #1273 (permalink)  
 
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Thumbs up Eket Hostages Released

It seems that the news concerning the demise of one of the hostages was not true and nobody seems to know how that started. Doubtless all will come out in the news once the men are safely reunited with their families. All 7 of the hostages are now reported to have been released and should be back in either lagos or Port Harcourt later today.
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Old 21st Oct 2006, 15:32
  #1274 (permalink)  
 
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It puts the other stuff into perspective when you are told someone died. If some Nigerian gang is brutal enough to carry out such a crime, they should plan ahead for the health and welfare of their captives? It might be a good argument for trying to get the rule of law running again in the Delta but it's a bit late for that one.

'Niger Delta Frontier Force,' eh? That would be a reference to the 'West African Frontier Force,' I suppose, but were they involved in murderous kidnappings? What a cheek!

Still, the other stuff does matter, hence the on-going discussions here.

The thing that always amused me, in a cynical way, was how Shell would tighten the screws on an aviation contractor until they squeaked, as if that were to achieve something. Playing 'hard-ass,' how impressive. 'All leaves are cancelled until morale improves!' so to speak. Meanwhile you could see huge sums squandered on buying the wrong aircraft and then operating them in a somewhat inefficient way.

It's pretty interesting to see Shell hire an outside contractor to operate for them but then get their own depraved Scottish midget to set up a new ramp in a way to guarantee a taxying accident. I asked him if it might not be a good idea to cover the open ditches right 'there' so that someone strange to the place wouldn't overlook it. I was told, somewhat huffily, that everyone had been briefed on how to operate, plus there were painted lines showing which way to taxy. 'Yes, but a stranger to the place, at night in the pouring rain?' No further discussion was necessary.

I was expecting a GV to wipe itself out that way but instead it was a Hind. Of course, yes, they did cover the ditches after that, but it took an accident to make them see commonsense.

After the squeaky screwing the contractor would plead poverty with its employess when it came to such extravagances as significantly improved security after high-risk gun attack, just to name one example.

Well, first they would pooh-pooh the risks or make people like me out to be moaners (the very idea!), suggesting that someone with a proper Bob the Builder tattoo upon his nyash would just go along with whatever risks cropped up, content in the idea of maintaining the operation's profit curve and its concomitant local manager's bonus. Gotta get those priorities right! A known failing of Yrs Truly, hence my present position on the breadline.

'You should know the risks when you come out here,' was one such pearl of wisdom that burnt its way into my brain. That was after a pilot had died in a very stupid way, off-duty. That was taken to be his own fault with no further thought or action required on the part of Management. I somehow missed out on my Harvard MBA but I could still think of some obvious things to do hoping to prevent a recurrence.

Well, let's hope for a reasonably speedy conclusion to this latest abduction and then see what develops from there.
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Old 21st Oct 2006, 15:33
  #1275 (permalink)  
 
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Tokunbo,
It's just as well you're not a betting man then!
I'm absolutely delighted to hear that the hostages have been released and that the reports of yesterday saying that one man had died have proved incorrect.
I just hope that if there are any lessons to be learned from this (and I'm certain that there are) they will be acted upon and that the authorities and companies like Bristow and CHC won't just lapse into complacency and come out with the old chestnut of, 'oh well, none of the expatriates taken hostage have been killed so far'.
Tokunbo is certainly right in his statement that all the companies in Nigeria have a duty of care to their staff, especially where their security and health are concerned during yet another violent episode in the history of Nigeria. If what he says about healthcare is true, then Bristow should be ashamed of themselves. There certainly were good clinics and trauma centres around in Nigeria when I was there - it's just a matter of paying the money for staff to go there. I always thought the SMI clinic in Port Harcourt was particularly good, though it's location is rather poor and it must be difficult to get there at night now if so many companies have a curfew. I guess everyone has MOPOL standing by to escort any staff who have to go at on essential business or need to get urgent medical treatment at night. With the possibility of being injured or getting sick as high as it is in Nigeria there's no excuse for not ensuring everyone has the best healthcare possible. With Bristow now being an American company I would have thought that if any of their staff fell sick and died, they could be sued in the American courts if it could be proved that the company had failed to make adequate provision for their medical treatment when in country.
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Old 21st Oct 2006, 15:43
  #1276 (permalink)  
 
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Thumbs up

Great news about the hostages. I hope that they all manage to recover from the ordeal which they have undoubtedly suffered.

To add a bit more on this healthcare topic in Nigeria, in one of my former companies there we had in-country health insurance with CRI. I don't think it was as good as SOS/SMI for trauma care, though I only visited 2 of their clinics. I found them to be well above the average local clinic or hospital and they seem to have either their own clinics or recommended hospitals in many cities in Nigeria (but not sure about Eket). They issue an ID card which can then be used in any CRI clinic - useful if you're travelling around and the top-end insurance with them also includes emergency medical repatriation.
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Old 21st Oct 2006, 18:12
  #1277 (permalink)  

Nigerian In Law
 
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Great News

All 7 hostages arrived Port Harcourt this afternoon. They are in reasonable physical shape, but what is going on in their minds...who knows ?

Following a medical exam they have, by their own wishes, been flown to different locations in two groups.

Rumours of anyone's demise were clearly exaggerated.

Great news, all the best to them and their families who I'm sure can't wait to see them.

NEO
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Old 22nd Oct 2006, 19:31
  #1278 (permalink)  
 
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Unhappy

Whilst it's great news that the 7 Eket hostages were released, please spare a thought for the 2 unarmed security guards who were killed during the kidnapping. I know that many security guards in Nigeria are pretty poor, but they're also poorly paid. The point is though, that they're also human beings who were just there doing their job. Maybe they had families to support, but I doubt that their families will have received much in the way of support, either financial or emotional. Does anyone in Eket know if any action is being taken to ascertain if the families of the guards need any help too?
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Old 22nd Oct 2006, 20:25
  #1279 (permalink)  

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Well said Mama Mangrove - a good point well made.

On another point. I quote a post from another chat site, in which the poster purports to be the News Editor at the Evening Express in Aberdeen (and I have no reason to disbelieve that) which gives some explanation as to what led up to the unconfirmed reporting of the death of one of the hostages, Paul Smith.

We were told on Friday by two VERY reliable sources that Paul Smith had died. I can't tell you who they were, but we had no reason to doubt them. Paul Smith's family were also told he had died, Police liaison officers visited his home in Peterhead to inform his family.

It appears now the information was put out deliberately by the kidnappers.

The Evening Express spent the whole of Friday speaking to the Foreign Office to get confirmation of the death.

We could not get this and held the story out of four editions of our paper on the Friday.

That night however, the local radio and television ran the story as fact.

This was followed up by the morning paper (Press and Journal) who said there had been "unconfirmed reports". We also ran a story on Saturday saying it had been "reported" Paul Smith had died.

Then, thankfully, on Saturday evening the news came all the men had been released.

The Evening Express has followed this story from the outset and done our best to report responsibly on what has been happening.
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Old 22nd Oct 2006, 22:00
  #1280 (permalink)  
 
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Devil

So it seems that Caverton's Dauphins are grounded because of the lack of FDR. The A109E is greater than 2730 kgs; does it not also require an FDR? Is it still flying? I also hear rumours that despite the financial hit this may be causing them, they are considering buying a fixed wing now!! They've also just fired their Chief Pilot. It must be getting more difficult for them to hire anybody with their 5/1 touring policy, low pay and high turnover of staff, particularly senior staff. Looks as if Sunny may have another Southern Air on his jands.
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