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Displaying items by tag: CHC Ireland

#Rescue116 - Lifejackets worn by the crew of the downed Rescue 116 were not fit for purpose — and the operators of Ireland’s coastguard rescue helicopter service knew five years beforehand.

That’s according to a report set to be broadcast on RTÉ One’s Prime Time at 9.35pm tonight (Thursday 26 October), which reveals that pilots had warned management at CHC Ireland that locator beacons on supplied lifejackets were fitted too close to the GPS antenna, contrary to manufacturer’s guidelines.

“Effectively this means that the beacon could produce absolutely zero receivable transmissions,” said a 2014 safety report filed by one crew member, while another warned that “pilots are wholly exposed in the event of a ditching”.

The Air Accident Investigation Unit’s preliminary report in April recommended a review of the use of locator beacons on Mk 44 lifejackets used by the crew of Rescue 116.

The crash on 14 March caused the deaths of Capt Dara Fitzpatrick and Capt Mark Duffy. The bodies of Paul Ormsby and winchman Ciaran Smith remain lost at sea.

While the installation issue only applies to the pilots’ lifejackets, which have since been withdrawn from service, the Prime Time report will also cover documents that identify similar issues with those worn by winch crew across the Irish Coast Guard fleet.

The new revelations come after a previous Prime Time report this summer said the issue of missing data from the helicopter’s onboard warning system was flagged four years ago with senior management at CHC Ireland, which won a 10-year contract to operate the Irish Coast Guard’s helicopter SAR services in 2012.

Published in Coastguard

#Rescue116 - A new report reveals that the absence of data on Black Rock from Rescue 116’s onboard warning system was flagged with the Irish Coast Guard’s helicopter operators years before the fatal crash earlier this year.

Captains Dara Fitzpatrick and Mark Duffy, along with winch operator Ciarán Smith and Paul Ormsby, died after their Sikorsky S-92 went down at the small Co Mayo island, west of Blacksod on the Mullet Peninsula, in the early hours of 14 March 2017.

Four months on and despite exhaustive searches of the area, the remains of Smith and Ormsby have not been found.

April's interim report into the tragedy suggested that the helicopter had been flying using a pre-programmed route that was missing specific data relating to Black Rock, while en route to a planned refuelling stop at Blacksod.

Now a report from RTÉ’s Prime Time says the issue of the missing data was raised four years ago with a senior manager at CHC Ireland, which won the 10-year, €500 million contract to operate Ireland’s helicopter SAR services in 2012.

The Irish fleet of long-range SAR helicopters was equipped with an Enhanced Ground Proximity Warning System, or EGPWS, in 2013.

That year, Sligo-based Irish Coast Guard pilots noted that Black Rock was missing from the EGPWS during routine test flights in the area.

However, Prime Time learned from a source that weeks after the incident, coastguard staff were told management were looking  into whether that information had been passed on to those responsible for updating the system’s obstacle database.

That same database was found just days after the Black Rock accident to have incorrect information for Skellig Michael, listing it as just 56m rather than its actual 217m height, though this has since been corrected.

RTÉ News has more on the story HERE.

Published in Coastguard

#Coastguard - The Canadian helicopter services giant contracted to provide the Irish Coast Guard's search and rescue service has filed for bankruptcy protection in Texas.

According to Independent.ie, CHC Group has blamed the worldwide drop in oil prices as the cause of "decreased customer demand" in its filing for Chapter 11 protection.

However, the Irish subsidiary contracted to provide Ireland's coastguard helicopter service till at least 2022 will not be affected by the move.

Only weeks ago CHC Ireland announced an eight-fold increase in profits in 2015 over the previous year.

Published in Coastguard

#Coastguard - Profits at the contractor providing Ireland's coastguard helicopter service are nearly eight times greater than in 2014, as the Irish Independent reports.

CHC Ireland, a subsidiary of the Canadian helicopter services giant, says its turnover jumped by 24% to €52 million in the tax year ending April 2015, for a profit of €3.4 million.

The firm's latest accounts filed at the Companies Office also reveal that the Irish Coast Guard's fleet of four Sikorsky S92 long-range search and rescue helicopters undertook 3,331 missions in the 12 months ending April 2015, 138 more than the previous year -- setting up for what was the service's busiest year since 1991.

Four years ago the coastguard took delivery of its first purpose-built and fitted Sikorsky S-92 from CHC under a 10-year, €500 million contract that runs till 2022.

The Irish Independent has more on the story HERE.

Published in Coastguard

#COASTGUARD - The Irish Coast Guard has taken delivery of its new search and rescue helicopter at its Shannon base, The Irish Times reports.

As previously reported on Afloat.ie, Sikorsky completed production of the new S-92 helicopter for the Irish Coast Guard last December under the rescue service's €500 million deal with CHC Ireland to revamp the aircraft fleet.

The deal will also see the coastguard's remaining four Sikorsky S-61s replaced by second-hand S-62s from Scotland over the coming months.

Training with crews at Shannon is set to begin shortly ahead of the S-92's first public demonstration at the centenary of the Titanic’s departure from Cobh in Cork Harbour.

Meanwhile, it is expected that the Air Corps may be offered an upgraded air ambulance role, after they were ruled out as contenders for search and rescue work amid some controversy.

The Department of Health has reportedly been in exploratory talks with private firms regarding the provision of an inter-hospital emergency air transfer service, as called for by the Roscommon Hospital Action Group.

The Irish Times has more on the story HERE.

Published in Coastguard

#COASTGUARD - Sikorsky has completed production of a new S-92 helicopter for the Irish Coast Guard under the rescue service's €500 million deal with CHC Ireland.

The US-based helicopter firm and CHC formalised the purchase on Wednesday (21 December) with Irish Coast Guard director Chris Reynolds during a hand-over ceremony at the S-92 commercial helicopter assembly facility in Coatesville, Pennsylvania.

Equipped for dedicated search and rescue (SAR) operations, the helicopter will provide coverage for deep Atlantic Ocean missions, service Ireland's offshore islands and provide rescue cover on the west coast from Cork to Galway.

The new aircraft will be based at Shannon and will replace the current coastguard SAR helicopter, a Sikorsky S-61, which has given 20 years of unbroken service.

According to Sikorsky, the S-92 is equipped with advanced systems and hardware, including an automated flight control system that enables the pilot to fly pre-programmed search patterns and perform delicate hover manoeuvres; a wireless intercom allowing a rescue swimmer to communicate with the crew; radio transceivers to communicate with ships and rescue services; a weather radar and infrared sensor; and a digital video system to record rescues.

Reynolds said the new helicopter - which joins four second-hand machines on a 10-year lease - represents a stepped improvement in Ireland's ability to care for and service its seagoing, coastal and island communities.

"I am very happy that the Coast Guard will operate what I consider to be the leading SAR helicopter in the world," he added.

As reported earlier this year on Afloat.ie, the new chopper is part of a deal that raised questions from a Fine Gael TD over allegations that a competing tender did not have a "good reputation".

Fergus O'Dowd questioning the contract with CHC Ireland after receiving documents in which Chris Reynolds said the Air Corps – whose helicopters are supplied by AgustaWestland - were uneqipped for the role and that no cost saving would be made if they took on the service.

Published in Coastguard
The director of the Irish Coast Guard has outlined the thinking behind its recent €500m deal for helicopter search and rescue services.
Chris Reynolds told Rotorhub that a simplified model based on key critera was adopted when choosing a bigger for the contract, which was awarded to CHC Ireland last year.
"With our contract, we essentially wanted to continue with what we already had, but with new technology," he said.
Rotorhub reports that the Irish Coast Guard formed a Future Helicopter Study Group to discuss the service's needs before the tender process which led to the 10-year deal for five Sikorsky S-92s.
The process stands in contrast to SAR-H, the UK's programme to overhaul its helicopter fleet which collapsed last year.
"If the UK needs to be looking at a new interim contract, they could look at how we did it," added Reynolds.
Rotorhub has more on the story HERE.

The director of the Irish Coast Guard has outlined the thinking behind its recent €500m deal for helicopter search and rescue services.

Chris Reynolds told Rotorhub that a simplified model based on key critera was adopted when choosing a bigger for the contract, which was awarded to CHC Ireland last year.

"With our contract, we essentially wanted to continue with what we already had, but with new technology," he said.

Rotorhub reports that the Irish Coast Guard formed a Future Helicopter Study Group to discuss the service's needs before the tender process which led to the 10-year deal for five Sikorsky S-92s.

The process stands in contrast to SAR-H, the UK's programme to overhaul its helicopter fleet which collapsed last year.

"If the UK needs to be looking at a new interim contract, they could look at how we did it," added Reynolds.

Rotorhub has more on the story HERE.

Published in Coastguard
Minister for the Marine Simon Coveney will have the remit for air and sea search and rescue services, it has emerged.
The Irish Times reports that the move is part of a promised consolidation of maritime functions under the new programme for Government.
Responsibilty for the Irish Coast Guard will however remain with Minister for Transport Leo Varadkar until an official transfer which is expected in the next few weeks.
Meanwhile, fellow Fine Gael TD and Minister of State for NewEra, Fergus O'Dowd, intends to push for a review of the State's €500m contract for search and rescue services with CHC Ireland.
O’Dowd said there were “significant questions to answer” over the deal signed by former Transport Minister Noel Dempsey last year.
The Irish Times has more on the story HERE.

Minister for the Marine Simon Coveney will have the remit for air and sea search and rescue services, it has emerged.

The Irish Times reports that the move is part of a promised consolidation of maritime functions under the new programme for Government.

Responsibilty for the Irish Coast Guard will however remain with Minister for Transport Leo Varadkar until an official transfer which is expected in the next few weeks.

Meanwhile, fellow Fine Gael TD and Minister of State for NewEra, Fergus O'Dowd, intends to push for a review of the State's €500m contract for search and rescue services with CHC Ireland.

O’Dowd said there were “significant questions to answer” over the deal signed by former Transport Minister Noel Dempsey last year.

The Irish Times has more on the story HERE.

Published in Coastguard
The Irish Coast Guard (IRCG) has lashed out over newspaper articles on the recent €500m deal with CHC Ireland to provide search and rescue services.
The it was recently reported in an Irish newspaper that Fine Gael TD Fergus O'Dowd called for an investigation into the deal. This followed a previous article in the same paper which claimed proposals by the Air Corps to provide the same service at a lower rate were rejected on the grounds that its main helicopter did not have a "good reputation".
But IRCG director Chris Reynolds has hit out at the newspaper for ignoring its clarifications over the CHC Ireland contract.
In correspondance seen by Afloat.ie, Reynolds answered questions from the paper regarding the nature of the deal.
Among them he explained that the invitation to tender was publicly advertised and open, but that the then Minister of Defence had made a policy decision in 2004 to remove the Air Corps from search and rescue services due to "operational difficulties" and precluded them as an option.
Reynolds emphasised that it was a Department of Defence directive that the deal be "100% civilian".
He also disputed any link between the CHC Ireland deal and one made by its parent company in the UK, which has been called into question over perceived irregularities.
Meanwhile, Afloat.ie has seen correspondence from CHC Ireland to former Minister for Transport Pat Carey assuring that the cancelling of the UK deal has no bearing on the provision of its services to the Irish Coast Guard.

The Irish Coast Guard (IRCG) has lashed out over newspaper articles on the recent €500m deal with CHC Ireland to provide search and rescue services.

The it was recently reported in an Irish newspaper that Fine Gael TD Fergus O'Dowd called for an investigation into the deal. This followed a previous article in the same publication which claimed proposals by the Air Corps to provide the same service at a lower rate were rejected on the grounds that its main helicopter did not have a "good reputation".

But IRCG director Chris Reynolds has hit out at the newspaper for ignoring its clarifications over the CHC Ireland contract.

In correspondence seen by Afloat.ie, Reynolds answered questions from the paper regarding the nature of the deal. 

Among them he explained that the invitation to tender was publicly advertised and open, but that the then Minister of Defence had made a policy decision in 2004 to remove the Air Corps from search and rescue services due to "operational difficulties" and precluded them as an option.

Reynolds emphasised that it was a Department of Defence directive that the deal be "100% civilian". 
He also disputed any link between the CHC Ireland deal and one made by its parent company in the UK, which has been called into question over perceived irregularities.

Meanwhile, Afloat.ie has seen correspondence from CHC Ireland to former Minister for Transport Pat Carey assuring that the cancelling of the UK deal has no bearing on the provision of its services to the Irish Coast Guard.

Published in Coastguard
The Irish Coast Guard's recent €500m deal with CHC Ireland to provide search and rescue services should be investigated, a Fine Gael TD has urged.
According to the Irish Independent, Fergus O'Dowd is questioning the deal after receiving documents under the Freedom of Information act in which the head of the Irish Coast Guard said the Air Corps were uneqipped for the role and no cost saving would be made if they took on the service.
As previously reported on Afloat.ie, the Air Corps' helicopter supplier AgustaWestland strongly disputed allegations that its helicopters did not have a "good reputation".
The contract will see CHC Ireland provide four helicopters (plus one backup) across the country on a 10-year lease. It is understood that this will include one new Sikorsky S-92 helicopters and four second-hand machines from the UK.
Meanwhile, controversy has arisen regarding a similar deal in the UK with a consortium that includes CHC Ireland's parent firm.
The British government has abandoned the procurement process over claims of irregularities in the bidding process of the deal which went to Soteria, a consortium including CHC, Sikorsky and French defence group Thales.
The Irish Independent has more on the story HERE.

The Irish Coast Guard's recent €500m deal with CHC Ireland to provide search and rescue services should be investigated, a Fine Gael TD has urged.

According to the Irish Independent, Fergus O'Dowd is questioning the deal after receiving documents under the Freedom of Information act in which the head of the Irish Coast Guard said the Air Corps were uneqipped for the role and no cost saving would be made if they took on the service.

As previously reported on Afloat.ie, the Air Corps' helicopter supplier AgustaWestland strongly disputed allegations that its helicopters did not have a "good reputation".

The contract will see CHC Ireland provide four helicopters (plus one backup) across the country on a 10-year lease. It is understood that this will include one new Sikorsky S-92 helicopters and four second-hand machines from the UK.

Meanwhile, controversy has arisen regarding a similar deal in the UK with a consortium that includes CHC Ireland's parent firm.

The British government has abandoned the procurement process over claims of irregularities in the bidding process of the deal which went to Soteria, a consortium including CHC, Sikorsky and French defence group Thales.

The Irish Independent has more on the story HERE.

Published in Coastguard
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