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Training – A delegates perspective

Posted: March 18, 2015

 

As with most of our blog posts lately we like to start with a quote. Just a little something to keep in mind while reading our blogs. So we have decided that for this blog our quote should be “Safety isn’t just a slogan, it’s a way of life”. Those few words explain just how our instructors work. Safety for our instructors is not just a slogan; it really is a way of life.

 

Who am I?

Before anybody goes offshore there are a number of courses which they must complete, depending on their role in the oil & gas sector, with a MIST, BOSIET and HUET being the basic requirement.

Seen as I’m the new marketing executive for NMCI Services I decided it was time for me to take the plunge and complete one of the many offshore courses we offer through S.N.O (SEFtec NMCI Offshore). When people read blogs they want to read about peoples personal experiences and know what exactly happens when a delegate arrives to do a course. So on Thursday March 12th I had the opportunity to be a delegate on a HUET Course.

 

My day as a delegate

As I’m an employee things were a little different. I didn’t have to arrive in reception at 8.45 am or I didn’t have to find my way or travel from a neighbouring country. So I was going doing the meet and greet at 1:30pm.

After the theoretical aspects of the course were completed it was time to get into the water. Before a delegate can get into the water you have to don your swimwear and a tracksuit and t-shirt. The instructor will then give you a pair of overalls and a transit suit. I have to admit this is a bit strange because you feel like you’re in a blow up boiler suit. Once the shoes are on then it’s time to put on your life jacket.

 

 

What happened…

 

After a safety briefing pool side it was time to get into the water in our environmental pool. The temperature is kept at 21 degrees so it wasn’t cold like I had expected. It was hard to stay up in the water as at no point in our pool can you stand up. This is to help simulate the idea of being in the ocean. When you’re in the suit you have to swim backwards to stay afloat and then make your way over to the unit. Out unit is manufactured by SEFtec.

Once in the unit the instructor once again goes through what is going to happen. You are so well briefed that the idea of being underwater without air doesn’t seem so terrifying. There were 2 divers and then 2 instructors pool side. Safety is paramount when it comes to any course but for somebody who wouldn’t exactly be a water baby I definitely felt safe in the hands of all the instructors.

I will admit I was a bit nervous once the 3 safety checks had been done and the briefing had been completed. Before completing the first exercise we once again completed the 3 safety checks and went into the brace position. Once the unit hit the water it was time to pull the emergency strap on the window and once the water reached chest level it was time to take that big breath of air. Depending on which side of the ditcher unit you are in you have one hand on the window and the other on your buckle. This helps ensure that you are in a position to release the buckle and to push the window out so you can easily remove yourself from the unit. The first time the unit was submerged I found I was able to hold my breath but then again I did probably get out too fast. Second time around I was more psyched up to do it and the instructors helped calm me and motivate me to complete the training. Safety checks were completed again, brace position, pull the latch, take a deep breath and then once the unit has stopped moving unbuckle and remove yourself through the window. I didn’t seem to follow the steps and when I went to unbuckle I didn’t fully twist the buckle to unlock it. This meant I was stuck. Like I previously mentioned I’m not exactly a water baby so my immediate response was to panic. The instructors and divers are on high alert and noticed straight away and released me from behind my seat. Once I reached the surface I was perfect but I had gotten a bit of a shock. Third time lucky right? Well that did work. On my third attempt I completed each of the steps. This time I even decided to stay in the unit just a while longer as I wasn’t sure if it had stopped moving. Then once I did get out I was ready to take on the “capsize” aspect of the training.

The adrenaline was obviously present at this stage because I was a nervous wreck the night before thinking about it and then I was all go. I returned to the unit and once again strapped in and completed the safety briefing then the safety checks. I was fortunate enough to do the capsize without the window in the unit, don’t know if I would even have the strength to push out the window. The unit was being submerged in the water, I placed my right hand on the window frame tightly and placed my left hand on my buckle. Once we were completely submerged and the unit began to capsize the force of water wasn’t what I was expected and I lost my grip on the windows edge which did frighten me. I had my eyes open which meant I could see everything moving really fast. I would definitely recommend delegates to keep their eyes closed if possible as it’s hard to adapt to the change in surroundings when you’re capsizing.

 

Overall experience

The instructors and divers really made me feel comfortable in the water. It’s not an easy task completing any training but knowing you have people, for whom safety is a way of life, by your side definitely helps you relax. From the moment I walked up the stairs to the pool to the moment I got out of the environmental pool I felt like I was in safe hands. Everything is explained numerous times and they ask questions to ensure you are comfortable. For me, even climbing up a ladder is terrifying, so knowing that I was able to complete a HUET, I can safely say it was down to the team of people who were there on the day. For some delegates it can be extremely challenging to complete courses and I can now understand the nerves they develop, but I was the same and the team here at SEFtec NMCI Offshore helped me to face my fears. If I can do it then you can too…

 

Thanks for an amazing afternoon Joey, Terry, Cillian & Melissa.

IMG_1213

FOET 26.02.15

HUET at the NMCI

 

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SEFtec Group sponsor OPITO Safety and Competence Conference 2014 in UAE

Posted: December 5, 2014

SEFtecGroup

 

Pictured above are the SEFtec Group delegation at the recently sponsored OPITO Safety and Competence Conference(OSCC) 2014 in Abu Dhabi. OSCC is the only annual, global event focused entirely on safety and competency in oil and gas. The aim of OSCC is to bring operators, contractors and the supply chain together with training organisations to provide a forum for improving standards of safety and competency that protect the workforce and the industry’s reputation. (Pictured left to right are Sean Mowlds, Michael Delaney, John Cogan, Conor Mowlds, Colman Garvey, Darren O’ Sullivan, Tricia Jordan and Garrett O’ Rourke)

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Oil Giant Exxon starts $160m Drilling Project off West Coast

Posted: April 2, 2013

Extract from Independent.ie Tuesday April 2nd

By John Mulligan

“Oil giant ExxonMobil kicks off a $160m-plus (€125m) drilling programme off the west coast of Ireland this weekend with hopes that confirmation of major fossil fuel reserves will transform the country’s economy.

The US company is planning to drill test wells over a four-month period at two prospects at the Dunquin licence area in the Porcupine Basin, 200km off shore.

Previous data has suggested that there could be over 300 million barrels of oil and 8.5 trillion cubic feet of gas between the two Dunquin prospects.

If they could be proven and then extracted, such finds would mark one of the biggest ever global discoveries of oil and gas and be a game-changer for Ireland’s economic fortunes.

Hidden

But despite the 200 or so wells drilled off Ireland’s shores in the past number of decades, only two have resulted in commercial fields – Kinsale and Corrib.

Both are minnows compared to the prospective resources that could be hidden at Dunquin. Kinsale had about 1.5 trillion cubic feet of gas, while Corrib has about one trillion.

Located at a point in the Atlantic where the ocean is 1.6km deep, ExxonMobil’s drilling programme is being eagerly watched by oil companies from abroad and Ireland, including Petrel Resources, which has an exploration block just 35km away from the Dunquin prospect.

ExxonMobil controls 27.5pc of the Dunquin prospect, with Italian firm Eni holding another 27.5pc.

Spanish energy firm Repsol owns 25pc and UK-based Sosina has a 4pc interest. Irish exploration firm Providence Resources has a 16pc interest in the prospect. A major oil or gas find could catapult its shares higher.

The Dunquin prospect – where the reserves are as deep as 3.6km under the seabed – is one of the most important exploration areas for Providence, which is headed by Tony O’Reilly Jnr.

Providence is also betting that it could have a major oil find on its hands at a site called Barryroe, which is close to the Kinsale field. The company reckons that there could be 280 million barrels of recoverable oil at the Barryroe prospect.”

http://www.independent.ie/business/irish/oil-giant-exxon-starts-160m-drilling-project-off-west-coast-29163728.html

 

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RTE’s Rescue 115 Team visit NMCI for HUET Training

Posted: September 30, 2011

Our Head of Commercial Wet Course Development and Training, Ray Johnston recently appeared in the RTE show “Rescue 115” training the Irish Coast Guard Search and Rescue crew.

The Irish Coast Guards regularly simulate lifesaving exercises at the college in preparation for search and rescue operations in some of the most hostile sea environments in the world.

The show takes place over a number of months and is a six part series. It follows the rescue crews at Shannon Helicopter base, as they battle to save lives around the Irish coast.

This week’s episode follows the Irish Coast Guards latest recruit as he has his world turned upside down while completing the Helicopter Underwater Egress Safety Training with Emergency Breathing Systems in the SEFtec configurable HUET.

The show follows his training to become a Winchman in the Shannon Helicopter base which includes interviews, paramedic training and medical, physical and physiological tests.  But before he can save lives he has to learn a drill he hopes he never has to use, which is learning how to react in the event of a helicopter ditching.

Click on the image below to watch the show.

RTE’s Rescue 115 Team visit NMCI for HUET Training

Helicopters are top heavy and because of this when a helicopter crashes into the sea it may roll over upside down in the water and in preparation of this event all crew must be trained in exiting the helicopter safely in this unnatural situation.

The HUET training is what will save their lives in the unlikely event of a helicopter ditching, this special course is held here at the National Maritime College in a specially built tank in a replica helicopter cock pit.

Daithí Ó Cearbhalláin, Senior Crewman of Rescue 115 said “Every crew man, every pilot has to complete this every three years so all of crews rotate through this using this facility here.” “It’s a great exercise, absolutely invaluable it teaches the boys what they have to do in regard to action training that in a real emergency you would follow through with these drills without thinking”.

Commenting on his HUET experience, the delegate said “The most surprising thing for me was being inverted, being upside down and trying to get your brain to tell you to breathe when it is telling you not to breathe because you are under water”.

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US Military using SEFtec HUET during training at Fort Rucker

Posted: April 21, 2011

SEFtec

SEFtec installed a custom military HUET (helicopter underwater escape trainer) at Fort Rucker Alabama. This unit replaced 2 METS dunkers at the site and has been used to train the US military ever since.

This video shows a news report by Patrick Claybon of News4, WTVY on May 11th 2009. read more…

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