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Newfoundland government supports off-shore recommendations

December 15, 2010  By Carey Fredericks

Dec. 15, 2010, St. John's - The Honourable Kathy Dunderdale, Premier of Newfoundland and Labrador, announced today that the Government of Newfoundland and Labrador supports all of the recommendations of Commissioner Robert Wells of the Offshore Helicopter Safety Inquiry.

"Commissioner Wells has conducted a thorough inquiry into offshore helicopter safety in Newfoundland and Labrador and our government supports all 29 of the recommendations he has put forth," said Premier Dunderdale. "Recommendation 29 suggests that a separate agency to regulate safety in the offshore industry be established and as this recommendation requires changes to the Atlantic Accord Acts, we will immediately commence discussion with the Government of Canada."

The Offshore Helicopter Safety Inquiry was established by the Canada-Newfoundland and Labrador Offshore Petroleum Board in April 2009 after the March 12, 2009 crash of Cougar 491 which resulted in the loss of 17 of 18 individuals on board the helicopter. Commissioner Wells released his report into helicopter safety November 17, 2010.

"Safety in our oil and gas industry is paramount and the recommendations of Commissioner Wells provide for enhanced measures to protect the workers who travel offshore," said the Honourable Shawn Skinner, Minister of Natural Resources. "I look forward to the cooperation of those involved in the industry, including both levels of government, the regulator and operators and most importantly, the workers, as steps are taken to implement the recommendations. While tragic circumstances led to this inquiry, I believe we have an opportunity to ensure positive changes result."

The Provincial Government will discuss Recommendation 29 with the Government of Canada, which has joint-management responsibility, to move forward as quickly as possible to establish a separate safety agency. Any changes to legislation to create a new agency must also be consistent with the joint-management principles that are a fundamental part of the Atlantic Accord. The Provincial Government also supports the action undertaken by the Canada-Newfoundland and Labrador Offshore Petroleum Board to immediately undertake administrative separation of safety operations.


"This industry has meant so much to the people of Newfoundland and Labrador in our recent history and we have a responsibility to ensure it is conducted in a manner which maximizes safety for workers," said Premier Dunderdale. "Safety in the offshore has always been, and will remain, a priority for our government."


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