Sunday, March 15, 2009

Good pay, huge risks, terrible loss of life

Obviously, these have not been a very happy few days for Canadians. I think of course of the helicopter crash off the coast of Newfoundland the other day that killed 17 of 18 on board whilst the passengers were being ferried to their shifts on board the rigs in the White Rose and Hibernia fields.

The riches of oil and natural gas off the East Coast have brought some long-sought and so well deserved prosperity, but with the business comes inherent risks. Many of us who live in this part of North America, where I write from, don't appreciate just how difficult it can be to be away from home for up to three weeks at a time (with an equal amount of time off back onshore) while working very intense shifts, on 12 hour rotations all week long.

Being in close quarters for such long periods of time, and with co-ed work crews (a good thing) can be trying at the best of times, but it's even harder to imagine the most dangerous part of the job is actually getting there or coming back home. You just can't hop in your car or take a train. This is something that people on the US Gulf Coast as well as those who live along the North Sea in Europe (another abundant supply of oil and natural gas) can appreciate also

There really are no words, other than to offer my condolences ... and a hope that all bodies can be recovered so that the families can properly bury their loved ones. And to the sole survivor, you have my prayers too -- hang in there.

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