Critics say if weather is so rough that no other rescue method is possible, helicopters should be grounded rather than put pilots and workers at risk


Offshore workers have launched a petition against plans to use a net and winch device for rescuing people from the water after a helicopter has crashed or ditched in the North Sea.

The ‘Dacon Scoop’ (pictured, during a training exercise. Image via Unite offshore branch) is designed to be used in stormy seas when fast-rescue ships cannot set sail.

Unite and the pilots’ union, BALPA say helicopters taking workers to and from North Sea installations should not be allowed to fly in such conditions.

The Dacon Scoop consists of large crane-like booms combined with heavy webbing.

The ‘scoop’ is manoeuvred into place by the rescue vessel.

Critics say this is an extremely hazardous operation under the most challenging of circumstances, especially in poor weather conditions.

They say it is not the basis on which to plan any rescue safely.

According to the petition: ‘If the conditions are so rough as to prohibit any rescue other than by Dacon Scoop, then we do not believe operators should expect pilots to fly.’

Unite is asking trade unionists to support the campaign against the introduction of the scoop by signing the petition here.

You can watch a video of a Dacon Scoop in action here.

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