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What's New In W. Africa (Nigeria)

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What's New In W. Africa (Nigeria)

Old 1st Jan 2007, 11:19
  #1521 (permalink)  
 
Join Date: Jan 2006
Location: MILAN, ITALY
Posts: 18
Buon Anno - Happy New Year

Buon ANNO / Happy New Year everyone ...
Ciao from Italy
Damiano


Last edited by told; 2nd Jan 2007 at 05:35.
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Old 1st Jan 2007, 11:22
  #1522 (permalink)  
 
Join Date: Jan 2006
Location: MILAN, ITALY
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AW139 in Nigeria


Can anyone update me with actual AW139 situation in Nigeria ?
Two or more helicopters are already in "5N" country ??? ... operated from who ???
Thanks a lot for your help.
Ciao
Damiano
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Old 1st Jan 2007, 12:31
  #1523 (permalink)  

Nigerian In Law
 
Join Date: May 2004
Location: Haven't been there, never done that.
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So I can have a Greenpeace card with Bristow ? I don't have to go to CHC ? Thank goodness, I was worried about splinters with hugging those trees. I've heard Dutch Elm disease ruins the complexion

Never much cared for pointy shoes.............

Cheers,

NEO
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Old 1st Jan 2007, 13:09
  #1524 (permalink)  
 
Join Date: Jan 2003
Location: AFRICA
Posts: 153
Happy new year

Happy new year for all of you flying in Africa and specially in Nigeria.
For those who don't have the luck to fly in Nigeria paradise, please come we need more crazy people here.
HAPPY NEW YEAR
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Old 1st Jan 2007, 14:11
  #1525 (permalink)  
 
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Smile

froggy

Happy New Year to you too.

I guess the milk shakes and gay bar will attract lots of crazy new pilots to go to the tropical paradise . Is CHC changing the uniform to tight leather trousers and lots of chains?
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Old 1st Jan 2007, 16:57
  #1526 (permalink)  
 
Join Date: May 2003
Location: AMSTERDAM
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Phone Wind
Not yet
We are waiting for you
Cheers and a Very Happy New Year for all
V.
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Old 1st Jan 2007, 17:51
  #1527 (permalink)  
 
Join Date: Apr 2003
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All this and a free pilot's jacket too!

The new year is off to a running start! My new employers, God help them, said that my contract would start on the 8th of January. I thought that was cool, leaving me just enough time to get those chips nicely centred on both shoulders and all, like a truly well-balanced Yank.

I returned from a ski holiday to find some weird stuff on the PC including a visa application for someplace hot and dusty in a combination of Arabic and French. What to make of that?

Well, I got one of my tri-lingual children to help out in filling in the little spaces. Then I called the Embassy in Berlin, when someone answered! Once I told him in German that, no, I don't speak French (I didn't even bother asking about English) he told me to call back tomorrow. That must have been the janitor, then.

I am very relieved to see that forward planning with the new lot is about the way it was with the old. Now if they just have a bar full of rude misfits, even though I think this is a job with a proper company that has only airplanes and no helicopters, I should feel right at home.

So that should be me sorted, at least for a while. I hope you are all managing okay without me back in the Centre of Excellence. My thoughts are with you, hoping that you all keep your heads down to the maximum extent consistent with still not bumping into things.

I get a jacket with zip-off sleeves and a detachable fake fur collar as part of my uniform issue. How about that then? Is that 'tits' or what?

Is this something where you disassemble the jacket once the desert sun comes up? I have been informed by someone here that the temperature drops to single figures at night but during the day I think it gets pretty warm year-round.

There must be a Company SOP for this, I am sure. Written, no doubt, by a Kamerad. Stand by for a report on this! Meanwhile, have a safe and happy 2007. If you see an insurgency coming, turn and go the other way.
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Old 4th Jan 2007, 15:49
  #1528 (permalink)  
 
Join Date: May 2002
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Nigerian militants say foil plan to free hostages


03 Jan 2007 09:15:13 GMT
Source: Reuters

ABUJA, Jan 3 (Reuters) - A Nigerian militant group said on Wednesday it had foiled a plan by Italian oil company Agip to free four foreign hostages who have been held in the creeks of the oil-producing Niger Delta since Dec. 7.

The Movement for the Emancipation of the Niger Delta (MEND), which wants jailed leaders from the region freed in exchange for the three Italians and one Lebanese, said Agip had paid middlemen to try and get its four workers out.

A Nigerian spokesman for Agip, a unit of Italy's Eni , declined to comment.

"(The plan) involved paying 70 million naira ($545,000) to those supposed to be guarding the hostages for the hostages to be guided to a point where a boat was to be stationed to take them out of the creeks," the MEND said in an email to media.

"A middleman brought 70 million naira to one of our camps where the attempt was immediately reported. Needless to say, the money has been confiscated and will be put to better use."

The MEND said such plans endangered the lives of the hostages as their guards had orders to shoot them if any attempt was made to release them without authorisation.

Attacks on oil facilities and abductions of foreign oil workers have plagued the Niger Delta for years, but the violence worsened in 2006 and is expected to escalate further in the build-up to Nigeria's general elections in April.

Nigeria, an OPEC member and the world's eighth-biggest exporter of crude, gets all its oil from the Niger Delta but the vast, impoverished region of mangrove-lined creeks and swamps has long been neglected by the central and local governments.

Poverty and frustration at an industry that creates few jobs while polluting the environment fuel militancy and crime.

The MEND, a faceless group which emerged in late 2005, launched a series of raids on oil facilities last February which shut down over 500,000 bpd of oil output -- a fifth of Nigeria's oil production capacity. That output has yet to resume.

The MEND captured dozens of expatriates during a series of sophisticated raids in January and February last year. All were released unharmed on undisclosed terms after up to five weeks.

Kidnappings for ransom are common in the Niger Delta, but after the latest abductions the MEND said it did not want money for the four hostages. Instead, it reiterated demands for the release of two jailed leaders from the Niger Delta and compensation by companies to residents for oil spills.

Since the Dec. 7 abductions, the MEND has also detonated three car bombs in the delta's main city, Port Harcourt, prompting oil majors Shell and Total to pull out hundreds of relatives of their expatriate staff.

The MEND said on Tuesday that Roberto Dieghi, one of the Italian hostages, was suffering from various ailments and it would allow doctors from the humanitarian organisation Medecins Sans Frontieres (MSF), Doctors Without Borders, to visit him.

The MSF head of mission in Port Harcourt said the group had not been contacted by anyone from the MEND.

The MEND said on Sunday that it had moved the four hostages after discovering that a local government official had managed to smuggle a mobile phone to them. The militant group said the four would not be allowed any contacts with the outside world until their release.

So much for the "What do you have for me?" attitude! This is very interesting news!
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Old 4th Jan 2007, 22:51
  #1529 (permalink)  
 
Join Date: Dec 2004
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MEND

SAS,

Interesting yes, but also a rather nasty, frightening and sinister development for many here. MEND is a sort of umbrella organisation and many previous kidnappings which have been carried out in its name may, or may not have been sanctioned by its top leadership. The trouble is that the leadership seems to be changing its stance rather like the Harmattan has changed the visibility. Not too long ago they said that they would be ceasing all kidnappings, now this? . The original statement may have been tied to a statement attributed to Dokubo Asari that he did not want violent means used to try and secure his release. Maybe MEND doesn't regard kidnapping as a viloent crime .

There's a website which is not updated too often, but often carries pronouncements from the MEND spokeperson. Some of its links may give some insight into what the mindset of a significant number of Ijaws is:

http://www.unitedijawstates.com/

It's good that this may signal a change in the policy of kidnapping for ransom, but when the demands of the kidnappers are politically unacceptable it does seem to make Nigeria a much more dangerous country in which to be kidnap than it was before .

This development also makes it much more difficult for CHC and Bristow to recruit, even if higher salaries are on offer. Until now, many people thought that being kidnapped was just a matter of waiting things out (albeit in some considerable discomfort) until the requisite ransom was paid. Now things are getting more like they were back in the bad old days in the Middle East when hostages were held in Lebanon for months or years. How many remember Terry Waite, the man who was a hostage negotiator, then himself taken hostage and held captive for nearly 5 years?.
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Old 4th Jan 2007, 23:21
  #1530 (permalink)  
 
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Yes,
Terry Waite, there's a name I haven't heard for years. His case illustrates just what a dangerous job hostage negotiators do. When Terry Waite was appointed to the Archbishop of Canterbury's personal staff he travelled extensively on condition he negotiated the release of any hostages he heard of wherever he went. He accidentally crossed the border into Iran in 1980 and negotiated the release of a number of western hostages. In 1982, his map-reading skills not having improved, he accidentally entered Libya where he secured the release of more British hostages. He was held hostage in Beirut for nearly 5 years, 4 of them in solitary confinement, during which he was tortured both physically and mentally on a regular basis.
To all those of you still working in Nigeria, I'd just say, don't think it's like it was - the good old days have gone, maybe for ever. Maintain a low profile, fly safe, watch out for each other and let's hope that things will improve after the elections.

Last edited by Mama Mangrove; 5th Jan 2007 at 12:33.
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Old 5th Jan 2007, 13:13
  #1531 (permalink)  
 
Join Date: Dec 2003
Location: Lagos
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ENI (the parent company of Agip) have told the BBC that no money has been sent, it has had no contact with the militants and has been working with the Nigerian authorities and the Italian foreign ministry to ensure the hostages' release.
The problem, as etienne says, is that MEND is an umbrella organisation. It uses a variety of armed groups to actually carry out its attacks and many of them are difficult to control, with no real loyalty to MEND except for payment. When not employed by MEND many of them carry out their own kidnappings for ransom, work for local politicians, or are involved in the vast illegal bunkering operations in Nigeria. They are simply guns for hire with no political agenda
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Old 5th Jan 2007, 15:31
  #1532 (permalink)  
 
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Tok,
That actually makes the situation far worse....much better you get grabbed by an organized well disciplined group with strictly defined goals and methods.
If one takes a logical view of all this....it is easy to see a trend developing.

It is the old Frog in the Pot concept.
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Old 5th Jan 2007, 19:43
  #1533 (permalink)  
 
Join Date: Dec 2003
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Posts: 245
Thumbs down Kidnappings in Nigeria Continue

SAS,

I agree, it's just what etienne was saying. MEND is quite well organised and has a definite agenda (though its view on kidnapping has changed a few times in recent months). It's certainly made some people here decide to look elsewhere or quit.

But why do you think our comrade Mr Froggy Pilot will be singled out?

We have had another kidnapping today. Five Chinese who may have been working on repairs to a vandalised power line were taken this morning. Initial indications are that this may be a kidnapping for money by youths from the local community .
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Old 8th Jan 2007, 02:45
  #1534 (permalink)  

Nigerian In Law
 
Join Date: May 2004
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Age: 61
Posts: 1,000
Too Little, Too Late ??

So there aren't exactly hoards of pilots and engineers breaking down Management's doors to take up the 8/4 option at CHC or BHNL. I wonder why ? Could it be that the compensation for a 35% loss of leave/longer work period doesn't quite compute with a 20% on BASIC from BHNL and a pro rata, i.e. NOTHING extra offer from CHC ? Arrived at with the flick of a senior manager's pen no doubt.

There are also murmurings (which will quickly become roars) in BHNL that the promised loyalty bonus which was to be paid in December wasn't and hasn't been mentioned or written about since. Not forgetting the accrued leave which was to be purchased and paid in the same month. Not the way to treat people who are already teetering.

CHC appear to be playing catch up, trying to counter whatever BHNL offer by matching it and then adding a few dollars. But the us and them attitude of their management rankles with the coal face guys. Until it changes people will be looking around Arreta and wondering if the grass might just be greener elsewhere.

Here endeth the lesson

NEO
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Old 8th Jan 2007, 04:29
  #1535 (permalink)  
 
Join Date: May 2002
Location: "Deplorable but happy as a drunken Monkey!
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NEO,
Would Bristow Management break a promise? Surely you jest.....I was always told they were the Industry Leaders for integrity that pilots talked of when having a cold one every now and then! I mean afterall....didi they not take a pledge after the Great Purge and promise to the shareholders and Mssr's Sarbanes and Company to adhere to a very strict Code of Ethics?


I swear I heard that was the case. Did some one "lie" about that?

Perhaps old habits die hard....listening to the folks tolling away at the coalface has never been their strong suit.


Quote:
• The Company failed to follow procedures that addressed concerns raised by employees about improper activities, and certain members of our former senior management failed to set the proper ethical tone.
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Old 8th Jan 2007, 07:57
  #1536 (permalink)  
 
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Your Freudian slip is showing!

Dear NEO,

You can have a 'hoard' of cash, but it is 'hordes' of pilots and engineers. I think that red-white-and-blue management-think is seeping into your coconut despite everything you can do to rinse it out again. Did they give you, perhaps, a new plaque for the desk with a title on it?

I remember once getting a very generous offer to climb the greasy pole that involved switching to married/accompanied (which sounded to my unpracticed ear very much like 'married to Company'). When I did the math it looked like giving up most of my leave for a paltry pay raise. Since I just wasn't into inflicting pain and suffering in a formal and organised way I passed on that one and the rest is history.

Could it be that these desk jockeys are still living in the recent 'I have a pile of resumés THIS HIGH on my desk!' past? There always seems to be a certain lag in the response to whatever really is new in West Africa but even the dullest soul should catch on to news of car bombs and kidnappings at some point and have a re-think of his terms and conditions.

Cheer up, you guys! I heard that my permanent (given that 'No condition is permanent') posting might be Saudi. What fun! No need to watch CNN for the reaction of the Man In The Street when the Persians get a new patch of glowing green glass where once an Atoms For Peace plant was buried; I will be right there on the spot to see what happens next, especially if the Yahoodies get permission to transit Saudi airspace on their way to do the deed. What would a few car bombs look like compared to that?

Remember that good, old country song, 'His Troubles Were Greater Than Mine'? This could be something like that, when I shall be moaning louder than ever before and missing a certain troubled patch of swamp.
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Old 8th Jan 2007, 13:15
  #1537 (permalink)  
 
Join Date: Feb 2004
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Unhappy Nigeria - A Bad Start To 2007

Well it looks as if 2007 has got off to a good start in Nigeria! . Most of we aviators are sitting around seeing little but Harmattan and wondering if we're going to get out on leave okay/get back from leave okay/just plain old get out and fly again . This has to be one of the worst Harmattans in recent years. The Harmattan has but one benefit really - if we can't fly nobody has to worry about how we can manage to get all the flying done when we don't have enough pilots to man all the aircraft. The trouble is that the Harmattan will eventually go away - the pilot shortage won't .
Meanwhile, the local militants have been hard at work. The 5 hostages taken from Brass are now spending their 41st day in captivity, with no change in MEND's demands for the Nigerian government to free a former state governor and an accused terrorist. 5 Chinese were also kidnapped, but their abductors have now demanded an unspecified ransom. It's been a bad year for the military too. Near Ughelli 5 soldiers and a Shell employe were killed and 4 soldiers are still missing. They were escorting the Shell employee along the Ughelli - Patani road when they were captured and taken into the bush where they were murdered. This is supposedly a revenge killing for a number of local youths who were killed by the police as armed robbers. Meanwhile, the Navy continues to have its personnel and gunboats captured by militants in the swamp area, with another 2 Navy and an unspecified number of SSS personnel captured by terrorists in 7 speedboats near Soku yesterday. This is all happening while the Ijaw National Council claims that it is working secretely to 'dissuade' the culture of kidnapping foreign workers, because it makes Nigeria look bad in the eyes of the international community. Never mind, the Minister of Aviation has severly criticised the staff of Virgin Atlantic and BA for being rude to Nigerian passengers - it's good to see that the government has got its priorities right
In Port Harcourt there have been long queues at some supermarkets as some expats are being bussed to get their shopping in large groups with armed police and military escorts. The Rivers State Police Commissioner has made a directive to landlords in the state not to accommodate any foreigner without the knowledge of the command. He said that the action was to prevent the kidnapping of the foreigners by militants. The commissioner said, ”Members of the public are hereby strongly advised to desist from accommodating foreigners without informing the police. The measure is to ensure that the militants do not use them for a ransom". As the police are suspected to be in collusion with some of the kidnappers this would seem to be a matter of providing a nice map of where to go and pick-up the next kidnap victim
Never mind, CHC think an extra US$7,700 a year, and Bristow think a change to 6/6 and an extra US$5,000 a year (plus a few bits and pieces) is enough to persuade outsiders to go and doubters to stay in a country which is now classed as one of the 10 most dangerous in the world for expat kidnappings. At those rates, I guess they'll be manning a few ancient helicopters with a few ancient (no offense NEO ) diehard pilots and engineers before too long.
chuks,
Sounds as if you're off to have fun then . What happened to the evenings in lonely African desert wastes, sitting out in your sleevless anorak and listening to the music of Diabate? Is this to be just a short interlude en-route to the sandpit? A few months of that will be good for your soul! All old enmities will rapidly be forgotten and before you know it you'll be back in the BRC, arms round the shoulders of a well-known German test pilot, reminiscing about the good old days and sinking more than a few cold Gulders as you sink back into the bosom of your African family
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Old 8th Jan 2007, 14:55
  #1538 (permalink)  
 
Join Date: Apr 2003
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Yes, well...

It would seem that beautiful downtown Hassi Messaoud is just a way-station for newbies to be trained and observed. If I do not exhibit any suicidal or homicidal tendencies then they move me on from there to my regular duty station, a place no one else wants, since I shall be the newest of newbies.

This would seem to mean that Saudi is less preferable to Angola. Jeez!

You are at much risk of a mid-air collision with a pig as of seeing me back. I left deep psychic scars on that small-souled son of the Fatherland, such that I don't get to go back before he leaves. Given that he's one of those types nobody much wants that means that I am safe from myself and my insane 'nostalgia de la boue de Isolo' for the indefinite future. It looks as if it should be NEO who turns off the generator for the last time, then. I had thought that job was reserved for me but I was wrong. Not that I seem to have missed the collapse by much, mind you!

If I were that way made it would cheer me up no end to read about all the trouble coming down in southern Nigeria. As it is, I can only wish some of my gloomier predictions were not coming true. Who needs all this trouble? All of the big men behind today's situation are sure to have things all sorted out with second homes someplace nice and settled, leaving their unhappy brothers and any expats fool enough to stick around to struggle through. Good luck with that one.
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Old 8th Jan 2007, 15:15
  #1539 (permalink)  
 
Join Date: May 2002
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Chuks,
If you should pass through Bahrain coming and fro'ing from Saudi....please to stop by Rick's Country Kitchen for BBQ and pickup an application to join the Generals Ward and Chennault China Post 1 of the American Legion, Shanghai, China (Operating in Exile). Membership costs but a mere 25USD and Rick's has some very good BBQ and Margaritas.

Do stay away from Ned Kelly's....they serve an awful imitation of beer...a thing they call Foster's.

Keep yer eyes peeled for an evil wee Aussie who claims to be a helicopter pilot and a TA osifer in the OZ mob. He is an evil little man who will lead you astray with drink.

Last edited by SASless; 8th Jan 2007 at 21:40.
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Old 8th Jan 2007, 20:32
  #1540 (permalink)  
 
Join Date: Sep 2002
Location: In Between Places
Posts: 94
Jobs in West Africa???

Just to throw something out there, even though it sounds like most of the time people working in Nigeria and the like for Bristow and CHC seem unhappy, I have actually wanted to come and work there. The tricky part is that even though a lot of people are saying that both companies are short on pilots, I have been applying for a position for quite some time. Maybe I dont have the requirements for working with these companies, but I have friends who were hired with a lot less time and experience than I have. So I am not sure what the deal is and would be interested to hear on any feedback and advice with who to apply to and should I bother trying anymore. To give you an idea on my background I am a 2100 hour pilot, flying A-stars. Got a lot of bush experience, fighting fires, long lining, oil and gas support, a couple of hundred hours offshore and a few hundred night. I hold a FAA CPL(H) & Instrument Rating and a Canadian CPL(H). Any words of wisdom are welcome. Thanks all and here's to a good New Year!
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