Fly on friend: repelling birds maintains safety on offshore installations

Thursday, 26 November, 2015 | Supplied by: Bird Control Group

Aerolaser helipad02

Offshore installations provide birds with a perfect landing spot — but their presence is a globally recognised problem because, if left undisturbed, guano build-up can reduce the safety of helidecks.

According to a report by the UK Civil Aviation Authority, ‘Bird guano accumulations and their effect on offshore helicopter operations’, all UK operators experience problems with birds on offshore sites with cases reporting as much as 90% coverage of an installation by guano. The annual cost of cleaning a helideck of guano can amount to 100,000 euros per platform.

Bird Control Group, CHC Helicopter and Total E&P, however, have worked together to develop and install an automated laser and sound system to repel birds on offshore installations in an animal-friendly manner. The Aerolaser Helipad is an automated device that combines laser and sound to keep birds at distance from helidecks and can be configured to the specific conditions of an installation.

Total E&P said it is the first oil company in the world to implement the bird-repelling system. The technology used for the device also has the support of the World Wildlife Fund.

Total E&P Nederland chose to partner with Bird Control Group due to the group’s broad experience in bird control across the aviation sector and at industrial sites. The company is also looking at installing the bird-scaring system at three other locations.

“We are always looking to improve safety across our operations. We are proud to be the first company to install the device and we are confident it will help to improve health and safety on our platforms,” said Yvonne Hoddenbach, manager of PR and communications at Total E&P Nederland.

According to CHC Helicopter, the UK CAP437 and ICAO regulations mandate a clear visibility of navigation marks and lights.

“Guano can obscure these markings,” said Jack van Sligter, helideck inspector at CHC Helicopter. “We want to provide our crew and passengers with safe working conditions, and this includes a safe landing offshore,” said Sligter.

“Pilots are glad to see actions are being taken to improve the situation.”

Images courtesy of Bird Control Group.

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