Coronavirus on the Decline in UK Offshore Sector
Oil and Gas UK (OGUK), the industry association for Britain's offshore oil and gas sector, reports that the number of possible coronavirus cases requiring medical evacuation is on the decline in the UK North Sea rig workforce.
OGUK confirms that the number of medevac flights for potential COVID-19 cases accounted for only 0.03 percent of total persons on board offshore installations last week. "The reduction in c-med flights is a recognition of both industry-imposed barriers and UK measures being effective," said Trevor Stapleton, OGUK’s health, safety and environment director. It is worth noting that a Cat-C passenger is only symptomatic of COVID-19 and may not be a positive case, therefore the percentage figure is the worst-case scenario. However, now is not the time for us to become complacent and we will be paying close attention to the figures going forward."
"Category C" evacuees are workers who display non-life-threatening symptoms consistent with coronavirus. The industry's standard medevac protocol calls for the use of a CMED or SAR helicopter and a maximum of three passengers on board.
From late March through late May, a total of about 200 individuals had to be evacuated due to potential COVID-19 symptoms, according to UK industry outlet Energy Voice. In early April, the count peaked at 56 flights in a week, and it has declined significantly since.
“As we move into the recovery phase – which will mean increasing [persons on board] offshore – a missing piece of the jigsaw is still asymptomatic testing for our offshore workforce, carried out using the NHS UK test centers. We continue to make the case for this with both the UK and Scottish governments," Stapleton added.