New app to help keep North Sea fishermen safe

Fri, 23 January 2015

A new app which will help make life safer for North Sea fishermen has been launched this week.

The FishSAFE Companion App will give information about oil and gas equipment on the sea bed and surface - ranging from platforms to subsea pipelines - so fishermen can better understand what the object is.

It is designed to complement FishSAFE Information and the FishSAFE unit which are already used by hundreds of skippers who fish in the North Sea and provides them with detailed information about potential oil and gas-related hazards in UK waters.

The new free app provides extra information about objects such as subsea wellheads, pipelines and protective structures. The size of equipment is indicated by a scale representation using easily-recognisable objects such as a person, bus or plane so fishermen can easily see how big the potential hazards are in comparison. Users can also type in their own notes in case, for example, the item has moved.

There is also a quiz so fishermen can test their knowledge, and a 3D picture so they know exactly what the potential hazard looks like.

FishSAFE was set up after four men died when the Scottish trawler Westhaven sank after it snagged on an underwater pipeline in 1997.

Fishermen can download the app while onshore or at sea and the information is permanently stored on their smartphone or tablet so they can easily view it, even when there’s no mobile phone coverage.

The information for the FishSAFE project is provided by oil and gas companies and is updated every six months and a version of the data is usually issued to fishermen in January and July. The FishSAFE unit is updated at the same time, and the information can also be downloaded from the organisation’s website which is updated frequently with urgent notices about oil and gas infrastructure and new snagging hazards.

FishSAFE Information provides skippers with detailed notes about oil and gas-related potential hazards in UK waters, and can be displayed on a plotter device on board a vessel. The FishSAFE unit - which is fixed in the wheelhouse - shows on a screen where the boat is and where pipelines and structures are in the area along with the statutory and HSE safety zones, and provides an audible and visual alarm when a boat is near a potential hazard.

Source:  Rachael Doyle

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