Page last updated at 15:14 GMT, Wednesday, 16 September 2009 16:14 UK

Call for helicopter safety summit

The Super Puma before it crashed [Pic: Gareth Falls]
A total of 16 men died when the Super Puma crashed in the North Sea

A pilots' union is calling for a ministerial summit to discuss the possible dangers faced by its members in the North Sea oil and gas industry.

The British Airline Pilots' Association (Balpa) has tabled a motion at the TUC conference asking politicians to meet a wide range of interested parties.

A task group was set up after April's Super Puma tragedy which left 16 dead.

Bob Keiller, chairman of the Helicopter Task Group, said they were keen to listen to anyone who could help safety.

Mr Keiller said: "The UK oil and gas industry takes the safety of all those flying offshore very seriously indeed which is why my first action as chairman of the Helicopter Task Group was to invite workforce safety representatives, the trade unions, and the regulatory authorities to join.

"We are making good progress in the task group and have visited both Westminster and Holyrood to update MPs and MSPs on our activities.

"We are keen to listen to anyone that can help us to improve helicopter safety and are happy to participate in any discussion set up by others."

A surveillance system that can pinpoint the positions of North Sea helicopters was recently launched in Aberdeen.

The system could help avoid "near miss" incidents and aid in locating aircraft in the event of an emergency.

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