Contractors Unlimited

New FishSAFE Unit In Action Across the UK North Sea

Aberdeen-based FLTC Services Limited (FLTCS) today (5 April 2010) announced that it has received the 200th order for its new FishSAFE unit. The devices are now being used to alert skippers with audible and visual warnings when oil and gas related surface and subsea structures are detected. Fishing nets can become caught on these structures so their detection is instrumental in improving mariners' safety.

Funding grants for trial and production of the units were provided by the European Fisheries Fund (EFF) and the Scottish Ministers. The project has been supported by Oil & Gas UK, the Scottish Fishermen's Federation (SFF) and the National Federation of Fishermen's Organisations (NFFO).

Many features of the previous FishSAFE unit, which is over a decade old, have been reviewed and improved in the development of the new device. For example, the new device's large, twelve inch LCD colour screen with clearer graphics is viewable in bright sunlight and allows much more information about hazards to be accessed; the slimline unit is also housed in a more robust, waterproof casing to improve performance.

Niall Scott, FLTCS' executive chairman, said:

"This development reflects the close collaboration between the oil and gas and fishing industries that has existed for many years. With many components of the original FishSAFE unit becoming obsolete, this new and improved version has been eagerly awaited and we welcome its production and supply. We are grateful to the EFF and the Scottish Ministers for their considerable support of the project."

FishSAFE relies on the six-monthly collection, quality control and publication of information on pipelines and other potentially hazardous infrastructure, a process supported by FLTCS and Oil & Gas UK's subsidiary, Common Data Access Limited (CDA). The unit then uses the boat's GPS navigation system to detect the position of the vessel against the database of oil and gas related surface and subsea structures in UK waters. The data and any updates to the operating system are easily refreshed every six months by inserting a memory card.

A 'keyhole' zone surrounding the vessel is displayed on the screen. As soon as a hazard area or safety zone is detected, a visual alarm is displayed on screen. There are three levels of alarm for each hazard based on a simple traffic light system, with a green alarm signifying a distant hazard and a red alarm indicating the vessel is inside a hazard area. An audible alarm is also triggered when a vessel is approaching a safety zone or a hazard area.

Extensive testing has been undertaken on board the Whitby vessel, 'Our Lass II', and the Scottish trawlers, 'Ellorah', 'Excel' and 'Harvest Hope'. Derek Watt of Excel stated that the device was a "great machine compared to the first unit".

Further details of the new unit are provided at www.fishsafe.eu, a website which provides fishermen and the oil and gas industry with information about matters of common interest in UK waters.

Oil & Gas UK is the leading representative organisation for the UK offshore oil and gas industry. Its 103 members are companies licensed by the Government to explore for and produce oil and gas in UK waters and those who form any part of the industry's supply chain.

Published 08/04/2010

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