A Super Puma helicopter. Image courtesy of U.S. DefenseImagery/Wikimedia Commons.

Offshore worker unions in Norway have called on regulators to keep a ban on Super Puma EC225LP and AS332L2 helicopters in place following a deadly crash earlier this year.

According to Rigzone, several unions representing offshore Norwegian workers said their members have expressed concern about being transported in the helicopters.

The unions calling for the continued ban include SAFE and Industri Energi, two of the largest oil worker unions in Norway.

“This is not only an important decision in relation to the physical helicopter safety, it is also a signal that the perceived safety of the passengers are taken seriously,” according to a joint statement sent by the unions and seen by Rigzone.

The ban was implemented after a Super Puma crashed in April while travelling from Statoil’s Gullfaks B platform to Bergen, Norway.

All thirteen people on board the aircraft were killed.

A Statoil spokesman told Reuters earlier this month that the company has no plans to use the Super Puma in the future, even if a ban ordered by the Norwegian Aviation Authority is lifted.

“It doesn’t matter what the Aviation Authority says. We can specify the helicopter type we want to use and we have already built up capacity with a different helicopter, the Sikorsky S-92,” Eek told the news agency.

Bans on commercial flights of recently built Super Pumas remain in effect in both Norway and Britain.

A temporary flight ban implemented by the European Aviation Safety Agency (EASA) was lifted in October.

CHC Helicopters, the operator of the Super Puma involved in the crash, said in May that the Accident Investigation Branch Norway suspected that the helicopter suffered in-flight separation of the main rotor hub from the main gearbox.

The EASA said that all main gearboxes that have suffered “unusual events” will be withdrawn from service.

CHC told the Guardian after the crash that the aircraft had returned to base twice for repairs in the days leading up to the accident.

CHC added that the helicopter had successfully completed six commercial flights after those repairs were completed.

The April crash was just the latest fatal accident involving Super Pumas transporting offshore energy workers.

Super Puma flights were temporarily halted in 2013 after four people were killed when a Super Puma crashed off the coast of Shetland.

In 2009, sixteen oil workers were killed after a Super Puma helicopter crashed into the UK North Sea.

Law enforcement officials determined that the 2009 crash was caused by a catastrophic failure of the helicopter’s main gearbox.


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