Page last updated at 16:38 GMT, Tuesday, 21 April 2009 17:38 UK

Super Puma grounded after alert

Super Puma
Super Puma helicopters returned to service on Tuesday

A Super Puma helicopter has been taken out of service on a North Sea platform after it was involved in a precautionary landing.

The aircraft had just taken off from Total's North Alwyn platform en route to Aberdeen when crew were alerted to an an "oil related" issue.

The pilot decided to return to the platform as a precaution.

Operator CHC said the helicopter landed safely at 1000 BST on Tuesday. It will be returned to service after checks.

The Super Puma involved was an L2 type - the same model that crashed into the North Sea earlier this month, killing all 16 men on board.

The helicopters only returned to the air on Tuesday morning after being grounded last week for urgent safety work to be carried out in the wake of the tragedy.

The greatest remembrance that can be paid to those who died in such instances is to re-dedicate our efforts to make sure that such things don't happen again
Alex Salmond
First Minister

The incident came as calls for a comprehensive North Sea safety summit were backed by delegates at the Scottish Trades Union Congress.

The STUC annual meeting in Perth was told by Brian Boyd of Unite that the fatal crash off the Aberdeenshire coast on 1 April had "brought home that working offshore is a hazardous occupation".

He added: "It shows the rigours that colleagues in the North Sea have to go through on a daily basis."

The emergency motion had been backed by pilots' union Balpa.

Scotland's First Minister Alex Salmond was among those in the audience as delegates debated the issue.

He said during his speech: "The greatest remembrance that can be paid to those who died in such instances is to re-dedicate our efforts to make sure that such things don't happen again.

"That is the biggest single act of respect and remembrance that can be paid."

The motion was also supported by Jake Molloy of the Oil Industry Liaison Committee.

"It makes common sense to strive to support health and safety and protect workers who are exposed to risk," he said.

Rebuild confidence

The motion said a "high-level" summit to examine the current offshore safety regime should be convened at Westminster and Holyrood.

It also called for the industry to take "positive steps" to rebuild confidence in the safety of North Sea helicopters.

The fleet of 25 Super Puma helicopters began a phased return to the air over the North Sea on Tuesday.

The Air Accidents Investigation Branch last week ordered urgent safety checks on their gearboxes.



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